Exodus 15:22-26 So Moses brought Israel from the Red sea, and they went out into the wilderness of Shur; and they went three days in the wilderness, and found no water. And when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter: therefore the name of it was called Marah. And the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink? And he cried unto the LORD; and the LORD shewed him a tree, which when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet: there he made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there he proved them, And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that healeth thee.

The Lord was testing the nation of Israel as they were wandering in the wilderness. There were over 600,000 men, plus women and children that were in need of daily water and food – and the Lord was providing for them. But He allowed them to feel their lack and their need of His provision before He gave what they needed to prove them. Everytime a trial came their way, what was in their hearts came out: murmuring and griping; complaining against God and the leader He appointed to lead the people.

The nation of Israel at first couldn’t find any water, and then, when they did, the waters were bitter (Marah means “bitter”). As long as the people were rebelling and going their way, their way was bitter. But when the tree was put into the bitter waters, they were made sweet.

Consider these verses:

Acts 5:30 The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree.

Acts 10:38-40 How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him. And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree: Him God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly;

Acts 13:23, 28-30 Of this man’s seed hath God according to his promise raised unto Israel a Saviour, Jesus… And though they found no cause of death in him, yet desired they Pilate that he should be slain. And when they had fulfilled all that was written of him, they took him down from the tree, and laid him in a sepulchre. But God raised him from the dead:

Galatians 3:13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:

1 Peter 2:24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.

The cross of Christ is compared to a tree (it certainly was made out of beams from a tree). Without the salvation Jesus provided by dying upon the cross for our sins, our lives are empty and bitter. Yes, sin may bring pleasure for a season, but the pleasure eventually leaves a spiritually bitter taste in our minds. Sinful pleasures can never fulfill the longing in our souls – only knowing the Lord and walking with Him can do that!

I remember how bitter my life was like before I came to know the Lord Jesus Christ: it was bitter. All the abuse in my past created scars that wouldn’t heal, bitterness that tainted each day, leaving a depression and a complete lack of purpose. Life was bitter to me!

But then came Jesus – and He healed my soul, healed the waters of my spirit, healed the wounds in my heart and mind – gave me a reason for living, gave me forgiveness. With Jesus’ cross (ie. His death upon the cross) affecting me, the waters of my life were made sweet! There was healing.

There is also another application to this passage in the Bible: that of taking up our cross daily.

Luke 9:23 And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.

When we, as believers, get our eyes off of the Lord, life is made bitter again – there is no joy, no peace of mind. When God has only half of a believer’s heart, you might as well call them Mara!

Consider the story of Naomi recorded in the book of Ruth. Naomi and her family moved to Moab in a time of famine, instead of trusting the Lord to provide and staying in Bethlehem. They went their way, out of the will of God, and it cost them dearly. Within ten years, she lost her husband and her two sons, and one daughter in law went back to her pagan gods. Empty and barren, Naomi returns with Ruth to Bethlehem, and we read this sad account:

Ruth 1:19-21 So they two went until they came to Bethlehem. And it came to pass, when they were come to Bethlehem, that all the city was moved about them, and they said, Is this Naomi? And she said unto them, Call me not Naomi, call me Mara: for the Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me. I went out full, and the LORD hath brought me home again empty: why then call ye me Naomi, seeing the LORD hath testified against me, and the Almighty hath afflicted me?

Naomi means “pleasant.” But she was no longer pleasant; instead she was bitter and anquished. As the story goes on, she puts her eyes back on the Lord and gets right with Him – and He brings healing to her troubled soul.

When we are determined to go our own way, there is bitterness – when we die to ourselves, die to our own will, there is healing and blessing. Consider Jesus, our example:

Matthew 26:37-44 And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me. And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt. And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done. And he came and found them asleep again: for their eyes were heavy. And he left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words.

Luke 22:41-44 And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him. And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.

Jesus faced a unique battle. He knew He was going to the cross to bear the sin of the world upon Himself. The Son had never been separated from the Father or the Holy Spirit in all of eternity – and God cannot look upon sin – knowing that when He bore our sins it would bring temporary separation in the Godhead, He struggled with what He had to bear. However, enduring that cup of God’s wrath was the only way Jesus could provide for our salvation – and three times He prayed in earnestness and agony, submitting His will to His Heavenly Father’s, and won the victory. The blood vessels bursting in His face (bloody sweat) showed the intense pressure and anquish He was in – still He gave His will to His Father. Then God strengthened Him, and He went on with a renewed determination to go to the cross.

When we give God only half of ourselves – picking and choosing what parts we will submit to Him – there is bitt
erness, there is turmoil within, no peace of mind. When we submit to His will in every area of our lives (inasmuch as we know that will) – when we take our cross up daily, then the Lord will heal those bitter waters.

Exodus 15:26 And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that healeth thee.

Israel was a very forgetful nation – but there is a lesson to learn here. The Lord taught them how to make their bitter waters sweet, showed them that this healing was based on their obedience and submission to Him; then notice where the Lord took them next:

Exodus 15:27 And they came to Elim, where were twelve wells of water, and threescore and ten palm trees: and they encamped there by the waters.

An abundance of fresh water – a well for each tribe, and seventy palm trees. Seventy – seven times ten – a multiple of seven contains the same meaning as seven: completeness, perfection, fulness. The Lord was indicating to them that abundance and blessing came from their obedience to Him and His Word. All that they needed was theirs when they got their hearts right with Him and walked right before Him. Satisfaction and fulfillment was found when the cross was added to the waters of their lives!

Are the waters of your life bitter or sweet? Have you come to the cross of Christ and received the Saviour that died upon that cross? Are you dying daily to yourself – have you taken up your cross today?

Written and preached August 28th/07
Jerry Bouey

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I want to build upon something that was presented in Part One of this study. It is interesting to note how the cherubim in the Old Testament are a type of Christ. They each have four faces, and each face represents one Gospel:

A) Matthew, the Lion, presents Jesus as the King, dealing with the Kingdom of God and with His authority.

This Gospel is written primarily for the Jews and deals more with that nation and focusses more on the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy than the other Gospels. It is in this Gospel that we find more references to Jesus being the Son of David, the King that is to reign. Here we find Jesus being referred to as the Son of Man (ie. the Messiah) – in contexts that are more reflective of His power (eg. His returning in glory and reigning, His charge over angels).

Matthew 26:64 Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.

Behold Your King!

B) Mark, the Ox, presents Jesus as the Servant, always doing the will of His Father.

This Gospel is geared more towards the Romans. In it we see a Servant under the authority of another (ie. His Father) – all power is given unto Him to fulfill His mission, but we still see Him subservient to His Father. This Gospel also refers to Jesus as the Son of Man, but the majority of those references are to His mistreatment and suffering – ie. the Suffering Servant.

Matthew 8:9 For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it.

Mark 12:6-9 Having yet therefore one son, his wellbeloved, he sent him also last unto them, saying, They will reverence my son. But those husbandmen said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and the inheritance shall be ours. And they took him, and killed him, and cast him out of the vineyard. What shall therefore the lord of the vineyard do? he will come and destroy the husbandmen, and will give the vineyard unto others.

Isaiah 49:5-6 And now, saith the LORD that formed me from the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob again to him, Though Israel be not gathered, yet shall I be glorious in the eyes of the LORD, and my God shall be my strength. And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.

Isaiah 53:11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.

In the last chapters of Mark, as we see this Servant being led closer and closer to the cross, we hear more references to His departure and returning again in glory.

Isaiah 52:13 Behold, my servant shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high.

Behold My Servant!

C) Luke, the Man, presents Jesus as the perfect Man, always depending upon the Father.

Luke’s Gospel is more geared towards the Greeks, presenting the Ideal Man. In it we see Jesus in all His humanity. This is the only Gospel that gives us a glimpse of His childhood – and in it we learn more about the events surrounding the virgin birth. Here we see our Saviour teaching more about prayer, and showing us the important of it in His daily life; we also see Him doing His miracles and teaching and preaching in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Luke 4:17-21 And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.

Here we see Jesus experiencing more emotions, showing more compassion, and interacting more with the Gentiles around Him. In this universal Gospel, we see Jesus reaching out to the lost of all nations.

Luke 19:10 For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.

Here is the Saviour, the Messiah, for the whole world, not just for the Jews. Yes, to them first, but not only to them!

Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

Behold The Man!

D) John, the Eagle, presents Jesus as the Son of God come down from Heaven, and focusses on who He is and His coming to save man from their sins.

Like Luke, this Gospel is universal – I believe we can even say this Gospel is more geared for every nationality than the others. Here Jesus is portrayed as the Saviour for the whole world – He didn’t just come for one particular nation (ie. the Jews). This Gospel focusses more on His deity than the others do, more on the fact that He is GOD manifest in the flesh, He is equal to the Father and is one with Him. He is no mere man – He is GOD with us! Here His glory is displayed, here His miracles shine forth His power, here we see the image of the invisible God in all His fulness!

John 11:25-27 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this? She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.

John 4:42 And said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world.

While this Gospel more clearly sets Jesus forth in all His glory and gloriously manifests His deity to the lost world, and is the best Gospel to use as a witnessing tool to reach the lost, to reveal Jesus to them, we also find it is the favourite of many born again believers. The Gospel of John’s main focus is to clearly present Jesus Christ as God, as the Saviour/Messiah come down from Heaven to redeem fallen man.

John 20:30-31 And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.

Not only does this Gospel reveal to us how to have eternal life in Christ, it also shows us what that life means on a practical basis.

John 17:3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

John 10:10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

Eternal life is more than being saved – it is living life to the fullest in right fellowship with your Saviour!

Behold Your God!

I am sure there is nothing like having
an Introduction in the middle of a study!
Now to continue where we left off in Part One:

4) Behold The Man!

John 19:1-5 Then Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged him. And the soldiers platted a crown of thorns, and put it on his head, and they put on him a purple robe, And said, Hail, King of the Jews! and they smote him with their hands. Pilate therefore went forth again, and saith unto them, Behold, I bring him forth to you, that ye may know that I find no fault in him. Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe. And Pilate saith unto them, Behold the man!

Luke presents Jesus Christ as the perfect Man, the Son of Man. The genealogy he gives in his Gospel shows that Jesus, in His humanity, is a descendant of the first man, Adam. It is noteworthy that the term Son of God occurs seven times in Luke’s Gospel – six (being typical of man) in reference to the Lord Jesus Christ, and once in reference to Adam, whom Jesus descended from and who was directly created by God Himself. Jesus is both God and Man – perfect God and perfect Man in one. God clothed in a human body, manifest in the flesh, so He could die for the sins of fallen man. He had to become one of us to redeem us.

Luke 1:35 And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.

(See also Luke 3:38; 4:3, 9, 41; 8:28; 22:70.)

Jesus is both the Son of God as well as the Son of Man. Though there is some overlap on the themes presented in each Gospel (to flesh out – so to speak – the picture of the Saviour), I think it would be appropriate to call Luke’s Gospel the Gospel of the Son of Man.

Prayer is a major theme of His Gospel, showing the Son’s dependance upon His Father.

Luke 3:21 Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened,

Luke 5:16 And he withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed.

Luke 6:12 And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.

Luke 9:18 And it came to pass, as he was alone praying, his disciples were with him: and he asked them, saying, Whom say the people that I am?

Luke 9:28-29 And it came to pass about an eight days after these sayings, he took Peter and John and James, and went up into a mountain to pray. And as he prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered, and his raiment was white and glistering.

Luke 11:1-2 And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples. And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.

Luke 22:39-46 And he came out, and went, as he was wont, to the mount of Olives; and his disciples also followed him. And when he was at the place, he said unto them, Pray that ye enter not into temptation. And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him. And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground. And when he rose up from prayer, and was come to his disciples, he found them sleeping for sorrow, And said unto them, Why sleep ye? rise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation.

Jesus not only depended upon His Father, He sought and did His Father’s will in all things.

Luke 2:49 And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?

Luke 9:26 For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father’s, and of the holy angels.

Luke 10:22 All things are delivered to me of my Father: and no man knoweth who the Son is, but the Father; and who the Father is, but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal him.

Luke 22:29-30 And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me; That ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

Luke 23:34 Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.

Luke 23:46 And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.

Luke 24:49 And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.

If Jesus, the sinless Son of Man, the Perfect Man, needed to depend upon His Heavenly Father moment by moment, day by day, shouldn’t we also need to? If our Saviour needed to cling to His Father and seek His Father’s will in the midst of His temptations and trials (ie. the events leading to His crucifixion), shouldn’t we also need to? Are we following in His example of prayer and trust?

Zechariah 6:12-13 And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the LORD: Even he shall build the temple of the LORD; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.

Luke 19:46 Saying unto them, It is written, My house is the house of prayer: but ye have made it a den of thieves.

Behold The Man!

5) Behold Your God!

Isaiah 40:9 O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God!

This follows on the tail of the prediction of John the Baptist’s declarations of who the Messiah would be, and the need to prepare the way for Him – prepare the way physically, prepare the people’s hearts spiritually:

Isaiah 40:3-8 The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it. The voice said, Cry. And he said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field: The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: because the spirit of the LORD bloweth upon it: surely the people is grass. The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.

“Including His own affirmation of it, seven different ones avow His Deity in this Gospel. First, John the Baptist: ‘And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God’ (1:34). Second, Nathaniel, ‘Rabbi, Thou art the Son of God’ (1:49). Third, Peter, ‘And we believe and are sure that Thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God’ (6:69). The Lord Himself, ‘Say ye of Him, whom the Father hath sanctified, a
nd sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?’ (10:36). Fifth, Martha, ‘She saith unto Him, Yea, Lord, I believe that Thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world’ (11:27). Sixth, Thomas, ‘And Thomas answered and said unto Him, My Lord and my God’ (20:28 ). Seventh, the writer of this fourth Gospel, ‘These are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through His name’ (20:31).” – Arthur Pink, Why Four Gospels?

John’s Gospel is the Gospel of the Son of God. In it we see the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ more clearly and more often than what is presented in each of the other three Gospels. Seven times in John’s writings he refers to Jesus as the Word:

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

John 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

1 John 1:1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life;

1 John 5:7 For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.

Revelation 19:13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.

Five times he refers in his writings to Jesus as the only begotten Son (of God):

John 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

John 1:18 No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

John 3:18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

1 John 4:9 In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.

Over and over again in John’s Gospel, the deity of Christ is emphasized – as well as the need to believe in His divinity as one of the fundamentals of the faith:

John 8:24 I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.

John 8:58 Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.

John 5:18 Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God. (Compare with Philippians 2:6)

John 10:30 I and my Father are one.

As has been mentioned elsewhere, Jesus clearly professed to be the I Am of the Old Testament, clearly professed to be God! And with those statements of His deity, He also declared Himself to be ALL that His people would ever need in this life, in eternity.

Isaiah 12:2 Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation.

Isaiah 35:3-4 Strengthen ye the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees. Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompence; he will come and save you.

Jeremiah 32:17, 27 Ah Lord GOD! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee… Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me?

Isaiah 4:2 In that day shall the branch of the LORD be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and comely for them that are escaped of Israel.

Isaiah 11:1-5 And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD; And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked. And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins.

Isaiah 40:10 Behold, the Lord GOD will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him: behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him.

Behold Your God!

Have you searched the Scriptures? Have you personally come to know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour? Have you received Him as your Lamb, the Lamb of God that took away your sins?

Do you Behold Jesus in the Scriptures as:

The Lamb Of God?

Your King?

God’s Servant?

The Man?

Your God?

Behold this fivefold picture – He is all these and more!

BEHOLD!

August 22nd/07
Jerry Bouey

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When I look upon God’s creation, it never ceases to amaze me! The wonder of God’s Hand upon all that man can behold is enough to cause us to believe! The Bible says that we are without excuse – God has provided His creation to move us, if you will, into searching for the Creator. Romans 1:18-20 says, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; (18 ) Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. (19) For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: (20) My Pastor is going through Romans in our morning services on Sundays and he covered these very verses this past Sunday.

Even when I was not born again, I knew in my heart that there had to be a God because when I stared at the Northern Lights or at a sky filled with stars, there could be no other explanation. This was replaced with a healthy reverence for God – this is what led me to Him at the age of 25. God knew that my heart had this reverence for Him and it needed to be nurtured with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It was at that time that I was gloriously saved! Praise be to God in the highest!!

It is this reverence – or in the Word it is referred to as “fear” – that drew me to the Lord and He has since given me wisdom through His Word. I did a search for verses with the two words fear and wisdom and was delighted to discover that there are seven verses! Coincidence? I doubt it!! The number seven symbolizes perfection. How can we be made perfect, my friend? Only through the perfect, shed blood of Jesus Christ. When we are born again, the Father no longer sees a sinner – but He sees the perfect blood of His Son over us! OK, now I’m whoopin’ and hollerin’! Let’s look at the seven verses together!

(1) And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding. (Job 28:28 ) It is this fear – this reverence for God – that drew me to salvation several years later. Although I was raised catholic, I did not have a desire to find God in that church. It is hard to explain but I believe it was God’s hand of protection over me. He drew me to Him by placing awe of His creation deep within my heart and then using that reverence to point me in the right direction! This fear (awesome reverence) turned into wisdom on April 1, 1980, at noon – that is when my heart accepted Jesus Christ as my Saviour! This is the beginning of our eternal lives – our born-again nature will live on forever! I love how this beginning coincidences with the first verse – the number one symbolizes beginning!

(2) The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever. (Psa 111:10) Once I was born again, this wisdom began to grow. Notice this verse says that it is the beginning of wisdom. How does one gain this wisdom? The answer is in the latter part of the verse. We get wisdom by being in the Word and doing what the Word commands us to do. The Holy Spirit moves us and molds us into Christ’s image. As we yield to the Holy Spirit in our lives, we become more like Christ. With the beginning and understanding of God’s Word, we can be witnesses for Him. Notice how this is the second verse? The number two symbolizes witness and separation! It is only through reading, understanding and growing in the Word that we can learn how to live godly lives.

(3) The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction. (Pro 1:7) It’s wonderful to see the progression here. Do you see it? After one is born again and growing in the Word, we begin to really know what we know about what we know! Our knowledge grows as we study God’s Word and sit under the preaching. It is at this point in our spiritual lives that we find ourselves at spiritual cross roads. We make many choices between what is right and what is not. We begin to think of our testimony to others and eliminate things from our lives that are not necessarily sin but may be a hindrance to others. Notice that the fool despises wisdom and instruction. There are many Christians out there who fit this role. They don’t spend any time in the Word, they don’t yield themselves to the Holy Spirit’s prodding. They don’t grow spiritually – and if they do, they grow very slowly. When we grow, we begin to realize the role that each part of the Godhead has in our lives. We see how the Heavenly Father looks at us as we do our own children. We see what the Saviour has gone through and done for us! We experience the Holy Spirit’s working in our hearts! How lovely that this is revealed to us in the third instance of these verses! The number three symbolizes the Godhead!

(4) The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding. (Pro 9:10) When one understands why we must be holy and what the benefits of living righteously are, one has gained much knowledge according to God. Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy. (1 Pe 1:16) We cannot be holy if we are not practicing righteousness in our lives. Practicing righteousness means that we are allowing the Holy Spirit access to and control over our lives. In so doing, we are able to worship God in spirit! God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. (Joh 4:24) God’s Word has a wonderful way of intertwining and developing itself, doesn’t it? If we spend time in the Word, we are surely rewarded. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (Joh 1:1) When we absorb the Word of God in daily reading and studying, we see that Christ (the Word) was in the beginning. He is the beginning of wisdom and knowledge. The number four symbolizes earth, creation and world. Christ was at the beginning – He created everything. For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: (Col 1:16) How appropriate is that?

(5) The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom; and before honour is humility. (Pro 15:33) I think of how Christ had to humble Himself to take on the form of man and give up His very life for our sins. He now sits at the right hand of the Father and awaits His reign here on earth. It is only through His shed blood that we can receive salvation. When we humble ourselves and accept the perfect work of the cross, we are given life eternal through Christ and we will reign with Him. The precious grace of God to man was given through Jesus Christ, our Saviour! The number five symbolizes grace, the Cross and atonement. The placement of these verses in this particular order is not a coincidence, my friend! Glory!

(6) And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD; (Isa 11:2) When the Holy Spirit rests upon man (residing within the born-again believer), He provides us with wisdom, understanding, counsel, might, knowledge and fear of God! It is the Holy Spirit Himself who moves us and guides us in all things. Mankind is nothing without the Holy Spirit in
his life. Mankind is lost without the Holy Spirit wooing him to Jesus Christ. Man needs the Spirit to direct us and feed us spiritually! Praise the Lord for God’s Spirit in our lives! The number six symbolizes man. Man is nothing without Christ. Man cannot have the spirit that this verse speaks of without Jesus as his Saviour. Man is incomplete without the Spirit of God within him.

(7) And wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of thy times, and strength of salvation: the fear of the LORD is his treasure. (Isa 33:6) Oh blessed God of all, thank You for these verses this morning! The last verse, the seventh verse, covers salvation being our treasure! Our Pearl of Great Price! The number seven symbolizes perfection and completeness. There is salvation in no other, my friend! Christ saves us completely. He was the Perfect Lamb of God – without sin – there is no other!

Lord, thank You for lifting my spirit today and placing me on shouting grounds! Praise and honor be to Your Name!

Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

I was prompted to do a search for the word forgiven yesterday, and was blessed by the results. There are seven main passages I came across in the New Testament that deal with being forgiven – the first two showing Jesus offering forgiveness to repentant sinners who trust Him by faith, and the remaining five are wonderful promises of assurance. (There are more passages in the NT with this term, but they dealt with either not being forgiven, warnings about the need for forgiveness, or requirements for it.)

1) Matthew 9:2 And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.

This story of Jesus’ miracle of healing and the forgiveness of the paralytic is told in the first three Gospels. We see that both the crippled man and his friends that brought him to Jesus all believed that Jesus could heal this man. And Jesus did heal him – however, He first and foremost focussed on the spiritual healing that was needed, and the physical healing was secondary.

Matthew 9:5-8 For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk? But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house. And he arose, and departed to his house. But when the multitudes saw it, they marvelled, and glorified God, which had given such power unto men.

1 Peter 2:24-25 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.

It is only God Himself that has the authority AND power to forgive our sins – our sins which are against Him. This is another proof of the Deity of Christ and the truth of the Trinity. Have you trusted the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation, believing in your heart that His death upon the cross was for your sins, that He was buried, and that He literally, physical arose after three days and three nights in the grave? If you have sincerely repented of your sins and trusted the Saviour to save you, then I believe that this word describes you too:

FORGIVEN!

What a wonderful word to hear, to know, to experience in your own life!

2) Luke 7:47 Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.

This is the story of the woman who broke the alabaster box over Jesus’ feet. She did this out of gratitude for the salvation the Lord offered her – even with her dark past, her sinful past, with the blackened record of sin on her account.

Jesus used this parable to illustrate how we are all sinners in need of His mercy and grace, in need of His forgiveness:

Luke 7:40-43 And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith, Master, say on. There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most? Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged.

It doesn’t matter whether you are a small sinner (with only 50 sins – in your life altogether, or each day…), or a great sinner (with 500 sins) – you are still a sinner in need of a Saviour!

Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

But praise the Lord – whether our sins are big or small, whether they are many or few, there is forgiveness available. As the wonderful hymn by William Cowper states so eloquently:

“There is a fountain filled with blood drawn from Emmanuel’s veins;
And sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains.”

Luke 7:48 And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven.

FORGIVEN! Cleansed of all sins! Sins blotted out and wiped away! No more trace of them in His sight!

Isaiah 38:17 Behold, for peace I had great bitterness: but thou hast in love to my soul delivered it from the pit of corruption: for thou hast cast all my sins behind thy back.

Isaiah 43:25 I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.

Isaiah 44:22 I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: return unto me; for I have redeemed thee.

Psalms 103:12 As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.

Micah 7:18-19 Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy. He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.

Hebrews 8:10-12 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.

3) Romans 4:6-8 Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.

Paul here is quoting from Psalm 32. When we trust the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation, not only does He remove our sins and refrains from crediting (imputing) those sins to our account, He also gives us His righteousness instead. Consider this illustration:

In God’s eyes, our sins have made us spiritually bankrupt. We are so far in debt to God, that we could never repay what we owe to Him – we could never get our sins right – we are destitute, impoverished – with such a great negative balance credited to our account. But then Jesus comes… When He is received, when His gift of forgiveness and eternal life is accepted through repentance and faith, then something amazing happens: His perfect righteousness is credited to our account, so instead of having a negative balance, we now have a positive balance – we are now billionaires spiritually – our debt has been wiped out (no more trace of it!), because the Kinsman Redeemer has paid ALL our sin-debt and purchased us back from our slavery to sin and to Satan.

Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.

The word forgiven used in most of these verses (except for the next two main passages covered in this study – in Ephesians and Colossians) means “to send forth.” And the word cover means “to conceal, to cover over, to hide.” Taken together we have a wonderful picture – the same one that was shown to us on the Day of Atonement in Leviticus 16 with the two goats. The High Priest laid his hands on the scapegoat and confessed all the sins of the nation of Israel over it (spiritually their sins were laid upon the scapegoat – and this pictured our sins being laid upon Jesus Chri
st). The blood of the first goat was shed, and the people’s sins were covered with that blood (covered from God’s sight – atonement literally means “to cover” – see Leviticus 17:11); then the scapegoat was released into the wilderness, bearing their sins far away.

Leviticus 16:21-22 And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat, and shall send him away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness: And the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities unto a land not inhabited: and he shall let go the goat in the wilderness.

Not only were their sins covered, they were removed completely out of sight – out of their sight (and out of God’s sight) forever. This is what Jesus Christ did when He fulfilled all the OT types. His precious blood covers our sins, and His death has borne them far away forever! Our Saviour didn’t just cover our sins, He took them away forever!

FORGIVEN!

John 1:29 The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.

4) Ephesians 4:32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

We are to treat one another as our Lord has treated us. We are to show the same forgiveness that He bestowed upon us.

The word for forgiven used here and in the next passage is given this definition in Strong’s Concordance:

“From 5485; to grant as a favor, i.e. gratuitously, in kindness, pardon or rescue.”

#5485 means “graciousness (as gratifying), of manner or act (abstract or concrete; literal, figurative or spiritual; especially the divine influence upon the heart, and its reflection in the life; including gratitude).”

Wow! I was reading a sermon outline yesterday that pointed this definition out. It certainly is powerful. It is God’s influence upon our heart and life that makes us grateful. Are you grateful for the Lord’s forgiveness? In your gratitude, are you showing this same forgiveness to others? Are you being kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you? Does the fact that you are FORGIVEN affect your life? It should!

FORGIVEN!

5) Colossians 2:13-14 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;

When we trust Christ for salvation, we are made alive (quickened) together with Him, and forgiven all our sins. Jesus has blotted out the record of our sins that were against us, having nailed it to His cross. This signified that the debt was fully paid. In the first century, when criminals had finished suffering the penalty due their crimes, when they had paid the full penalty by bearing the stripes meted out and remaining imprisoned until their punishment was completed, then they were set free and the list of their offences was nailed to their prison door – marked as paid in full. This record and the statement marked on it told the world around them that they were now released from their crimes – and could never be charged with them again – the penalty was paid completely. In the same way, we can no longer be judged or condemned for our sins again, as our Saviour already paid their complete penalty – paid in full! – and the record of them is nailed to His cross!

This is what H.G. Spafford was referring to in his hymn, 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!”

Colossians 1:12-14 Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:

Strong’s Concordance gives this definition for the word sin as used in this passage: “from 264; a sin (properly abstract).” #264 means “properly, to miss the mark (and so not share in the prize), i.e. (figuratively) to err, especially (morally) to sin.”

We have all missed the mark of God’s perfect will for our lives – and that is sin. Praise the Lord that there is forgiveness for our sins!

There is a different word for sin used in a parallel passage though:

Ephesians 1:6-7 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;

“A side-slip (lapse or deviation), i.e. (unintentional) error or (wilful) transgression.” This word includes the idea of falling into sin – not necessarily heading into it deliberately, but stumbling and falling in our day to day lives. Praise the Lord there is forgiveness for our deliberate sins, as well as for our stumbling and faltering!

FORGIVEN!

6) James 5:15-16 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

I believe a careful study of this passage reveals that it is referring to a true believer who has backslidden, who has wandered into sin – and gotten sick as a result of God’s chastising on their unrepentant sin. The sickness was to get their attention and bring them back to the Lord. When the backslider accepts God’s correction and makes his sin right, the forgiveness and cleansing is there for him. The word for faults here is the same word used in Ephesians 1:7 for sins (ie. side-slips), and the context indicates that it was a sin(s) against another believer (hence the need to confess it to one another).

We are to seek to wash one another’s feet spiritually (ie. bring the Word of God to bear on their lives in an attempt to halt their backsliding and bring the believer back into right fellowship with the Lord – see John 13:1-17); to restore our brother in a spirit of meekness (Galatians 6:1), and to convert (ie. turn) him back from his waywardness – before the Lord has to use stronger means of chastisement in his life.

First, God speaks – through His Word, through other believers, through the prompting of His Spirit, through our circumstances.
If that doesn’t halt our progress in sin, then He spanks – that is light chastisement designed to get our attention (see Hebrews 12:5-13).
If that isn’t effective, then He scourges – that is chastisement that leaves scars, that is permanent, that proves to us God isn’t playing games with our sin.
Then His last resort is to take us home when we have committed the sin unto death (ie. not a specific sin, but an unrepentant attitude that will not get the sin right) – then He separates (death is a separation – the separation of the soul from the body – see 1 John 5:16-17; Acts 5:1-11; 1 Corinthians 11:27-32).

This last aspect of chastisement is what James is referring to in this passage – sickness that may lead to death if not repented of. However, when repented of, there is forgiveness:

James 5:19-2
0 Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.

FORGIVEN!

7) 1 John 2:12-14 I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name’s sake. I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one. I write unto you, little children, because ye have known the Father. I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one.

There are three types of believers pictured in this passage: little children – ie. young believers; young men – ie. believers who have grown a bit and have gained a measure of victory over the world, the flesh, and the devil; and fathers – ie. mature believers who have been walking with the Lord for a while now, maintaining their walk and fellowship with their Heavenly Father.

I love the fact that the first thing emphasized for the little children – for the new believers – is that they are FORGIVEN! They are forgiven for His name’s sake – forgiven because He is the Saviour and they have trusted in Him for salvation. Yes, there is a lot of growth and a lot of changes to come in their lives – but they have a clean slate now, they have a new beginning in Christ – they are:

FORGIVEN!

Are you?

I love the statement, “Christians aren’t perfect, just forgiven!” No, we aren’t sinless (as that is typically what is meant by this phrase) – but we are forgiven – and that should mean something to each and every one of us!

Forgiveness

Forgiveness – it’s a blessing;
When a heart that once was stone
Stops exalting its own self,
And lets Christ reign from His throne.

Forgiveness – it’s a blessing;
When all bitterness departs,
When the water of the Word
Purifies a broken heart.

Forgiveness – it’s a blessing;
Though sometimes walking by sight,
Now reaching for God’s promises,
By faith, grasping them tight.

Forgiveness – it’s a blessing;
Though blackest sins barred the way,
With rivers of mercy flowing,
Christ can wash them all away.

Forgiveness – it’s a blessing;
Eternal life by God’s grace,
With joy, looking to Heaven,
And beholding our Saviour’s face.

Poem written November 2nd/99
Devotional written August 13th/07
Jerry Bouey

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2 Peter 1:1-2 Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ: Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,

Seven times in the books of first and second Peter we come across this word precious. Webster’s 1828 Dictionary defines it as: “1. Of great price; costly; as a precious stone. 2. Of great value or worth; very valuable. 3. Highly valued; much esteemed.” Something precious is worth more because of its rarity. For example, think of a precious stone – worth much more than a common stone because it is rare. Here are the seven things that Peter declares are precious:

a) The Trial Of Your Faith

1 Peter 1:7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:

b) The Precious Blood Of Christ

1 Peter 1:18-19 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:

c) A Living Stone (ie. a true believer – precious to God)

1 Peter 2:4 To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious,

d) The Corner Stone (Christ)

1 Peter 2:6 Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.

e) Jesus

1 Peter 2:7 Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner,

f) Like Faith – 2 Peter 1:1 (quoted above)

g) Exceeding Great And Precious Promises

2 Peter 1:3-4 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

As these verses clearly state, God’s Word (and the precious promises found therein) are given to His children to enable us to live in a godly manner in this present evil world. Godliness means “Godlikeness, holiness.” Corruption means “Depravity; wickedness; perversion or deterioration of moral principles; loss of purity or integrity.” The Lord wants us to be like Him in this world, holy, separated from sin and wickedness. We are to cling to these promises and walk in a manner that is pleasing to the Lord, a manner that refuses to give in to the corruption and moral decay around us. According to God’s Word, with these promises and the power of the Holy Spirit working within us, we have all we need to live for the Lord and to do His will.

1 John 2:15-17 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

It is worthwhile to note that 2 Peter 1:3 states that we will be able to do this, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue.

It is through walking with the Saviour day by day that we learn to be more like Him. As we diligently spend time in His Word and grow in our knowledge of Jesus, then we will become more like Him, as this verse teaches:

2 Corinthians 3:18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.

One main theme of Second Peter is that of knowledge. Seven times this word is used in this book: 1:2, 3, 5, 6, 8; 2:20; and 3:18. It is this knowledge believed and applied that will set us free from sin.

John 8:31-36 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. They answered him, We be Abraham’s seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free? Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.

Consider this verse:

2 Peter 2:20 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.

In this case, they had a knowledge of Jesus Christ, but it wasn’t taken to heart – it wasn’t believed; therefore these apostates being referred to went back to the pollutions of sin that they were entangled in before.

But we do not need to be like them! If you have trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation, you have His precious promises and the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue.

Virtue means “Moral goodness; the practice of moral duties and the abstaining from vice, or a conformity of life and conversation to the moral law. In this sense, virtue may be, and in many instances must be, distinguished from religion. The practice of moral duties merely from motives of convenience, or from compulsion, or from regard to reputation, is virtue, as distinct from religion. The practice of moral duties from sincere love to God and his laws, is virtue and religion… A particular moral excellence… Excellence; or that which constitutes value and merit.”

2 Peter 1:5-7 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.

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Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. (1 Th 4:17)

What a day it will be when the Rapture takes place and we meet our Saviour in the clouds forever to be with Him! I long for the day, don’t you? I feel that the Rapture is one of Christ’s gift to the born-again believer! How precious a gift it is indeed! This picture was taken in Monticello, Virginia, at Thomas Jefferson’s home. A storm was coming and the clouds were rolling in. What a beautiful view we had. Mr. Jefferson’s home sits on a hill and we had a panoramic view of the valley as we watched the storm come in. My son, Adam, took this picture of the clouds as the sun’s rays came through. He commented how he believed the clouds would look this way at the time of the Rapture! Oh what a gift! A grateful heart always takes our eyes off ourselves and our circumstances and places them on the Lord. We are able to thank Him for our blessings even while in the midst of a storm!

I recently celebrated my birthday and received several wonderful gifts which were so appreciated. I meditated on the absolute and Perfect gift – God’s gift to me through the giving of His Son, Jesus Christ, so I may be saved! Praise the Lord for this wonderful gift from our Heavenly Father. I did a search for the phrase gift of God and was delighted to see that there were eight verses with this phrase in the Word! The number eight symbolizes “new beginnings” and Christ gives us a new beginning through the new birth! Praise His Holy Name!!

In reviewing the eight verses, I noticed that they could be broken down into seven categories.

1. The fruit of our labour: And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labour, it is the gift of God. (Ecc 3:13) and Every man also to whom God hath given riches and wealth, and hath given him power to eat thereof, and to take his portion, and to rejoice in his labour; this is the gift of God. (Ecc 5:19) Why should we consider the fruit of our labour a gift? If it weren’t for the health God has given us and the ability to work, we would not be able to enjoy the fruit of our labour. I also think of the precious fruit of saved souls as a result of the labour of our work at soulwinning.

2. Jesus is our gift: Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water. (Joh 4:10) There is no greater gift in the world than to give your life for a friend. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. (Joh 15:13) I think of those who give their lives every day in defense of freedom for our country and they die for those they don’t even know! Praise God!

3. The Power of the Holy Spirit: But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money. (Act 8:20) To think that the power of God could be purchased is ridiculous. However, there are religions today who practice this very belief. There is nothing new under the sun (Ecc. 1:9). Buy indulgences and buy your way out of purgatory – buy masses for those who are dead and their time in purgatory will be greatly reduced!

4. Eternal life: For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Rom 6:23) What a gift indeed! To be forever with our Saviour in Heaven is indeed a gift!

5. God’s spiritual gifts to Christians: For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that. (1 Co 7:7) We’ve all been blessed with one or more gifts from the Holy Spirit. These gifts are a whole other study unto themselves but the fact of the matter remains that we all have at least one. The gift is not for our glory or benefit but for the glory of God and for the cause of His work. All the gifts put together through the various members of a church make up a whole body of unified believers who are producing a beautiful work unto God.

6. Grace: For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: (Eph 2:8 ) Grace, unmerited favor, is most certainly a gift! God shows us His agape love by giving us His undeserved kindness! We are putrid sinners, my friend. It only takes one sin to keep us out of heaven. A Holy and Righteous God cannot allow even one sin into His presence. To do so would infest a perfect place. Look at the Garden of Eden – it was perfect until Adam and Eve’s sin entered. They were cast out of the Garden. Lucifer and his band of angels were cast out of heaven when they sinned. Praise God for His grace in our lives and giving us His only Son so we can have eternal life in His heaven!

7. Preaching: Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands. (2 Tim. 1:6) What a gift indeed. Our Pastor is our gift from God. How do you treat a gift which has been given to you? Do you discard it? Do you mistreat it? No, you cherish it and you make sure that it is well cared for because it is precious to you. So should our Pastor be to us. So should any preacher of the Word, an evangelist, a missionary, or a street preacher! If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. (1 Pe 4:11) Treat your Preacher as a precious gift and let Christ’s name be praised in so doing!

It amazes me that this phrase, gift of God, can be categorized into seven types! Seven symbolizes perfection and completeness! Doesn’t this totally bless you? God’s perfect and complete gift to us is through His Son, who gives us a new life!

How can one not be blessed by the Word when you pick it up apart and see that God has given us more to glean from! What people miss when they don’t spend time in the Word!

Father, God, We Glorify
Charles and John Wesley

Father, God, we glorify
Thy love to Adam’s seed;
Love that gave Thy Son to die,
And raised Him from the dead:
Him, for our offenses slain,
That we all might pardon find,
Thou hast brought to life again,
The Savior of mankind.

By Thy own right hand of power
Thou hast exalted Him,
Sent the mighty Conqueror
Thy people to redeem:
King of Saints, and Prince of Peace,
Him Thou hast for sinners giv’n,
Sinners from their sins to bless,
And lift them up to Heav’n.

Father, God, to us impart
The gift unspeakable;
Now in every waiting heart
Thy glorious Son reveal:
Quickened with our living Lord,
Let us in Thy Spirit rise,
Rise to all Thy life restored,
And bless Thee in the skies.

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Deuteronomy 31:14 And the LORD said unto Moses, Behold, thy days approach that thou must die: call Joshua, and present yourselves in the tabernacle of the congregation, that I may give him a charge. And Moses and Joshua went, and presented themselves in the tabernacle of the congregation.

Moses was near the end of his life – very soon (within a matter of days) he would be passing off the scene, and Joshua would then lead the nation of Israel into the Promised Land. It was time for Moses to give them (and Joshua) his final words of exhortation and instruction. Seven times in Deuteronomy 31 and Joshua 1, we read the exhortation to “be strong and of a good courage.” God had a plan for the nation of Israel – to conquer the land of Canaan – and it would involve strength and courage; it would require God’s strength and the perfect courage He could give them, if they relied on Him.

1) Deuteronomy 31:6 Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.

Perhaps, upon hearing this, Joshua was reminded of his commission years before of spying out the Promised Land and bringing back a report – as well as the consequences of the nation of Israel rebelling against God’s clear leading:

Numbers 13:17-20 And Moses sent them to spy out the land of Canaan, and said unto them, Get you up this way southward, and go up into the mountain: And see the land, what it is; and the people that dwelleth therein, whether they be strong or weak, few or many; And what the land is that they dwell in, whether it be good or bad; and what cities they be that they dwell in, whether in tents, or in strong holds; And what the land is, whether it be fat or lean, whether there be wood therein, or not. And be ye of good courage, and bring of the fruit of the land. Now the time was the time of the firstripe grapes.

Joshua, just like you had nothing to fear back then, even so you have nothing to fear today! As your name indicates: The LORD is salvation – He it is that goes with you, and will deliver you from all your enemies. In fact, He will deliver all your enemies into your hand and give the land to you. You do not need to fear man – the Lord is with you! He will not fail to keep His promises, and He will never forsake you; therefore there is no reason for fear or hesitation. Go conquer the land in His name! He will give you the victory!

What has the Lord commanded you to do in your life? I believe this promise is just as much for us today as it was for the nation of Israel. Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.

This is one of my all-time favourite verses – one I memorized to a melody, and one that continually comes back afresh to my mind whenever I need it. We have the Lord’s seven-fold promises to spur us on!

It is interesting to note that two other people within the Bible itself quoted this verse to exhort others:

More »

I was blessed these last few days by meditating on John 17 and Jesus’ High Priestly prayer, being reminded again of the seven times that Jesus states that the Father gave all true believers to Him, the Son. There are 17 references to gave(st) and give(n) altogether in this chapter. Each verse says something slightly different, and it is edifying to look at what they encompass. These seven references to us being given to the Son are contained in six separate verses:

1) John 17:1-2 These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.

Seven times in the Gospel of John Jesus refers to His hour, the hour He would be glorified by the Father through His death upon the cross for our sins, His burial, and His physical resurrection: 2:4; 7:30; 8:20; 12:23 (see also vs. 24), 27; 13:1; and 17:1. There are eight times in this chapter that Jesus uses the word glory or a form thereof (glorify, glorified).

We might say about verse 2, “This one’s a given,” meaning that we already are familiar with this truth: all that have received the Lord Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour have been given the gift of eternal life in Him. I love how the next verse expresses exactly what that eternal life is – fellowship with the Father and the Son:

John 17:3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

1 John 5:20 And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.

Salvation is eternal life – fellowship with the Lord our God – life, living in the presence of God for eternity.

2) John 17:6 I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word.

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2 Peter 1:3-4 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

Of course, this promise about God’s promises giving us all we need to live for His glory in this world is also one of my favourite ones too!

God’s promises are for God’s children – to enable them to live right in this dark world! If you are a child of God, the same promises that strengthened and blessed my walk with the Lord are yours to claim as well! In fact, there are hundreds and perhaps even thousands for us to take and apply to our lives.

To make this series a little more personal, today and in my last devotional I wanted to focus on verses that have most helped me in my walk with the Lord. What are my seven most used passages since I came to know the Lord as my Saviour, and what are my most favourite passages overall (ones that have been ongoing favourites since they first impressed themselves upon me)?

My seven favourite verses (within the last few years) are:

1) God’s Sovereignty

Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

No matter what the trial or affliction in my life, the Lord will ultimately turn it around and use it for my good! That doesn’t make the evil good in itself (as some would claim), but it means that everything the Lord allows into my life has some purpose that fits His plan for me – whether something to strengthen my faith, something to chastise me, something to draw me even closer to Him, something to teach me more about Him and His Word, or perhaps something to better enable me to relate to and offer comfort to someone else going through a similar trial further down the road – whatever the purpose, the Lord God is still in control!

I love the Old Testament equivalent of this promise too (as stated by Joseph to his brethren):

Genesis 50:20 But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.

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2 Peter 1:3-4 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

God’s promises are for God’s children – to enable them to live right in this dark world! If you are a child of God, the same promises that strengthened and blessed my walk with the Lord are yours to claim as well! In fact, there are hundreds and perhaps even thousands for us to take and apply to our lives.

To make this series a little more personal, today and in my next devotional I wanted to focus on verses that have most helped me in my walk with the Lord. What are my seven most used passages since I came to know the Lord as my Saviour, and what are my most favourite passages overall (ones that have been ongoing favourites since they first impressed themselves upon me)?

My seven most used or claimed verses are:

1) Provision – Matthew 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

Worrying about our needs is one of the greatest fears many of us face on a regular basis – but with promises like these, we do not need to live in fear. What we need to do is be faithful, seek the Lord and do His will – and He will provide for us each day.

There are so many examples I could think of in regards to God’s provision in my life – whether big or small. When I moved back to Kelowna in 1997, I was involved in street ministry and started volunteering at the Gospel Mission – because I was 100% sure that was what God had called me to do at that point in time. I was not yet working, but my student loan payments were due to start soon. I remember claiming this verse in my daily prayers, and just trusting that the Lord would do as He said. Very shortly afterwards, a friend from the Bible study group I was leading approached me and gave me $400 to use towards my bills. He had just filed his quarterly tax return, and stated he did not need that money and thought I might be able to use it. Praise the Lord!

Another time, in 1994, I was burdened for my family on my Dad’s side that I got to know a little when I was a teenager (lived for a year and a half at my Dad’s place in Saskatchewan). My uncle was not doing well – and was without a farm hand, so I offered to come and work for him that summer for free to help him out. He promised to think about it. I made it a matter of serious prayer – that was Wednesday; by Friday morning he called me back with information that a woman that worked with his wife was visiting relatives about 40 miles away from where I was, and her family was driving back to where my uncle lived the following Monday! He had already contacted them, and they were willing to take me with them, without costing me anything. In fact, my roommate drove me to meet them, gave me $20 to take with me, and this family paid for my meals during the trip! God opened the door for ministry to my family, and He provided for ALL my needs!

One of my favourite verses on this theme is:

2 Corinthians 9:8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:

Notice that it is a seven-fold, all encompassing promise. God is always faithful! More »

Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. (Rev 3:20)

I find the studies on the number seven to have been my biggest blessing thus far. I was looking at the seven churches in Revelation and reflected on how each referenced “saith he” and just who that “he” was. We all know that He is Christ. However, the characteristics used to depict Christ are awesome!

1. Jesus holds His messengers in His right hand and walks in the midst of the church. Rev 2:1 Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks; The seven stars are the angels, the messengers. It is thought that these messengers are the pastors of the seven churches (the candlesticks). It is interesting that these angels are held in the palm of Christ’s right hand! They are His. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. (Joh 10:29) Also notice that the seven candlesticks (the seven churches – seven is perfection, completeness) are shown with Christ walking in the midst of them. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. (Mat 18:20) Not only is the Pastor held in Christ’s palm but Christ Himself walks amongst us through His Spirit. How can we go wrong?

2. Jesus is the first and last and is alive! Rev 2:8 And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive; We do not serve the dead gods of the world. We serve a Risen Saviour! I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death. (Rev 1:18 )

3. Jesus is sharper than any two edged sword! Rev 2:12 And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges; Since Jesus is known as the Word: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (Joh 1:1) – He is fulfills the following verse: For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. (Heb 4:12) Jesus came in the flesh – He became the spoken Word of God to us in the flesh. When He returned to Heaven, He left us His spoken Word in written form through the power of His Holy Spirit. But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. (Joh 14:26)

4. Jesus is the Son of God! Rev 2:18 And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write; These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass; The only time the Son of God is found in the O.T. is in Dan. 3:25 when the Son of God walked in the midst of the fire with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego! The phrase Son of God appears in 45 verses in God’s Word. I found it interesting that the number forty symbolizes “probation, testing, closing in victory or judgment” and the number five “grace, cross, atonement, life”! Isn’t it appropriate that Jesus’ ministry on earth (His hour of testing) closes with His reign in both victory and judgment? Isn’t it also interesting that His grace given to us by His blood’s atonement on the cross results in eternal life for us? Glory!! How can we say that God’s Word is not complete? Every jot and every tittle will be made manifest one day. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. (Mat 5:18 ) This series is only scratching the surface – it would be like placing a pencil mark on Mount Everest! I’m certain that when we reach Heaven, we will see so much more!

5. Jesus has the seven Spirits of God. Rev 3:1 And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead. The Holy Spirit resides within every born-again believer and every born-again believer makes up the church. The word “hath” reveals that Christ holds the church and possesses the church. What a blessing this is!

6. Jesus is holy, He is true and is the door. Rev 3:7 And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth; Jesus is the only door. Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. (Joh 10:7) and I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. (Joh 10:9) It’s interesting that the phrase “I am the door” appears twice to depict the Second Person of the Trinity! I also found it interesting to see that the door reference is for the Church at Philadelphia – the church that will experience the rapture!

7. Jesus is the Amen. And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; (Rev 3:14) Salvation is final, firm, established and complete in Jesus. Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (Joh 14:6) Jesus is the only way to Heaven – He is the final way to Heaven – He is the beginning and the end – no other way! Plain and simple! Period! No Allah, no Buddha, no Mohammad! It is Jesus and Jesus only!

What a blessing to read these this morning! God is so good to us, my friend! We spend but a few minutes or hours in the Word yet we walk away with eternal blessings! Thank You, Father, Son and Holy Spirit!

Hark He is Calling
Fanny Crosby

Though young in years, we are all taught,
The way that leads to Jesus;
The way that must by faith be sought,
If we would come to Jesus.

Refrain

Hark! He is calling every day,
He says to each one, “I am the way.”
Let us arise, arise without delay,
And come at once to Jesus.

How happy they, who safely rest
Within the fold of Jesus;
Beneath His kind protection blest,
They walk and talk with Jesus.

Refrain

There is a door that leads from sin,
That blessed door is Jesus;
And there we all must enter in,
To reach the fold of Jesus.

Refrain

And, as His sheep have learned to know,
The loving voice of Jesus;
So we, like them, may gladly go,
And ever dwell with Jesus.

Refrain

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It is no wonder that Christ would leave us with His perfect Holy Spirit to reside within us. I love the fact that we don’t have the Spirit hovering over us in a cloud as the Jews did in the days of the Old Testament. No, instead we have Him right inside us – He’s there all the time, wherever we go! No wonder Christ could say that He would never leave us or forsake us!

I have heard messages preached on the fruit of the Spirit, but as I was searching out about the work of the Holy Spirit I discovered that there were seven different works that the Holy Spirit does for us. As the number seven symbolizes perfection, we can see that God’s work is meant to be perfect – it is man’s sin that stands in the way. We will lack nothing from God as His work is perfect. He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he. (Deu 32:4)

Let’s take a look at how the Holy Spirit of God works in our lives. Rom. 8:26-27, Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. (26) And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. (27)

1. He helps our infirmities: The Holy Spirit helps us and carries our burdens. In this case, He helps us with our weaknesses, both physically and mentally. Not all are to be physically healed (as in the cases of Paul, Timothy and Gaius) but all can be spiritually healed. I absolutely love the verse: Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. (Mat 11:29) Christ promises rest for the soul (salvation) in this verse. The Holy Spirit draws us to Him and the result is help for our sin – salvation through Christ and the promised rest for our soul is given to us.

2. He makes intercession for us: Noah Webster’s definition of intercession absolutely blesses the heart!

INTERCES’SION, n. [L. intercessio, from intercedo. See Intercede.]

The act of interceding; mediation; interposition between parties at variance, with a view to reconciliation; prayer or solicitation to one party in favor of another, sometimes against another.

Your intercession now is needless grown;

Retire and let me speak with her alone.

He bore the sin of many, and made intercession

for the transgressors. Isa 53.

Compare Noah’s definition with Merriam Webster’s definition:

Main Entry: in·ter·ces·sion
Pronunciation: “in-t&r-‘se-sh&n
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English, from Middle French or Latin; Middle French, from Latin intercession-, intercessio, from intercedere
1 : the act of interceding
2 : prayer, petition, or entreaty in favor of another

Is it any wonder that the believer does not receive the blessing he would receive if he were to look up the definitions intended at the time the King James Bible was put into English? I glean so much more from the Word when I take the time to read the definitions as they were intended.

The Holy Spirit makes intercession for us, my friend. He mediates to the Father for us. I can see Him tell the Father, “Father, Kate really needs a new winter coat. I don’t think it’s a good idea to give her a mink coat but I do believe that second-hand wool coat would provide her with great warmth!” Can’t you see Him saying that? The Holy Spirit “interposes between parties at variance, with a view to reconciliation” – We are at variance with the Father until we come to Him through Christ. The Holy Spirit draws us to Christ with the goal to reconcile us to the Father! He prays to the Father in our favor, and sometimes against our favor. When we are praying for something the Spirit knows is not to our benefit, He will approach the Father against our favor. How beautiful a picture of praying in God’s will. The Holy Spirit sees to it that our Heavenly Father is approached with the right kind of prayer on our behalf. How can we go wrong?

Notice how verse 26 goes on to say “for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” The charismatic groups use this in defense of speaking (praying) in tongues. However, the verse says “which cannot be uttered! The word utter means:

1. To speak; to pronounce; to express; as, to utter words; to utter sounds.

You’ve been there in your prayer life – a prayer request that you just don’t know how to put into words or even how to pray for. This is where the Holy Spirit comes in. It does not mean that you are now going to speak or pray in an unknown tongue because verse 26 says that it is not “spoken, pronounced or that sound is not made.” The Holy Spirit’s work here on our behalf is to put into words to the Father what we are not able to do for ourselves. He prays it just right for us.

3. He searches the heart: The Holy Spirit searches our hearts for the reasons behind our prayers – our motives – He investigates every aspect and knows all there is to know. I picture Him with a flashlight going through the dark recesses of my heart where He finds what He is looking for. He is the ultimate investigator. He strives to prevent us from fulfilling this verse: Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. (Jam 4:3)

4. He teaches us: For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say. (Luk 12:12) He is our teacher. He will put God’s Word in our minds and hearts when we need it so that we know what to say when we need to say it.

5. He comforts us: But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. (Joh 14:26) Why would the Lord use the word “Comforter” in this sentence instead of Teacher? Have you ever been led to a verse in the Word when you were down hearted and it brought to you the comfort you needed desperately? I know I have. I think of Psalm 121 and how many times I have turned to that chapter in desperation only to walk away uplifted and encouraged. I can see why the Lord use the word Comforter here. The Holy Spirit brings to our memory the Word of God, where to turn to in the Word, what to read in the Word and what to glean from the Word. He knows exactly what we need, when we need it. There’s no greater comfort, my friend, than to possess the Spirit of God within us – the Spirit who stands ready to give us exactly what we need.

6. He draws us to Christ: To deny the Holy Spirit’s calling is serious business. He draws us to Christ. And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come. (Mat 12:32) A person who says “no” to the final calling of the Holy Spirit for salvation is damned for all eternity. My Pastor stood by a dying man’s bedside and absolutely begged him to get saved. This man kept saying, “I just can’t”! He had denied Christ too many times that he had reached the point that he just couldn’t be saved. If someone who is reading this devotional today is not saved, please keep this in mind. You can say you’ll get saved “some” day. But that day may come and it will be too late for you. Please don’t wait. (For he saith,
I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.) (2 Cor 6:2)

7. He testifies of Christ: But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: (Joh 15:26) The Holy Spirit verifies that Christ is the Son of God – the Second Person of the Trinity. How can He do this today? By the written and published Word of God – through witnesses beginning with the Apostles and those who saw Him in person! He can also use the Christian to witness to what Christ has done in his or her life. Noah Webster defines the word testify as:

TEST’IFY, v.t. To affirm or declare solemnly for the purpose of establishing a fact.

We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen. John 3.

1. In law, to affirm or declare under oath before tribunal, for the purpose of proving some fact.

2. To bear witness to; to support the truth of by testimony.

To testify the gospel of the grace of God. Acts 20.

3. To publish and declare freely.

Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance towards God and faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ. Acts 20.

How blessed we are to have the perfect work of the Holy Spirit directing our path! It is complete – it is perfect – it is thorough! Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

Faithful

Lord, You’ve been so faithful in
those times I’ve cried to You.
You’ve answered so many prayers,
and made wondrous dreams come true!

You’ve always been there to guide me
when I wasn’t sure what to do.
You gave me strength when I was weak,
and Your light came shining through.

I thank and praise You for Your gentle touch,
of reproof when I’ve gone astray.
You promised You’d never leave my side,
and You’d walk with me every day!

Kate Plourde

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The Christian is in a no-man’s land between the opposing forces of Light and darkness: between the Almighty God and His dire enemy, Satan – otherwise known as the Devil. On our own, we cannot face the demonic schemes and principalities, powers, and rulers of the darkness of this world; therefore, we must align ourselves always with God and take the Heavenly aid that God provides through His divine weapons of warfare and through His Armour – the Armour which the Son of God (Christ) Himself wears.

In Isaiah, two passages about the coming Messiah declare that: “For he put on righteousness as a breastplate, and an helmet of salvation upon his head… And righteousness shall be the girdle {belt} of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle {belt} of his reins.” (Isaiah 59:17a, 11:5)

In 1st Peter, we are told to “be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” (1 Peter 5:8 ) Paul, in Romans 13:12, tells us to cast off the works of darkness and put on the armour of light. We are to resist the devil and be stedfast in our faith. (1 Peter 5:9 and 1 Thessalonians 5:5-6)

No soldier in his right mind would ever enter a battlefield weaponless and without his protective armour, yet many Christians do this every day. Utterly defenseless, we are easy prey. Christians must begin their day by putting on each piece of God’s Armour, found in and provided by Jesus, “Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 13:14)

Ephesians 6:10-17:
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
Put on the whole armour of God,
that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood,
but against principalities, against powers,
against the rulers of the darkness of this world,
against spiritual wickedness in high places.
Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God,
that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day,
and having done all, to stand.
Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth,
and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
Above all, taking the shield of faith,
wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
And take the helmet of salvation,
and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”

As these verses indicate, there are four items of defense. They are as follows:
A belt, a breastplate, a shield, and a helmet.
There are also two weapons here:
Shod feet (which may not sound like a weapon at all), and a sword.

Ordinary items of armour would be ineffective because we are not struggling against flesh and blood, but against the spiritual forces of Satan and his devils (fallen angels). Yet none of these items are ordinary or useless – they are divinely empowered by our Lord. (See 2 Corinthians 10:3-5)

(1) We are first told to gird ourselves with the Belt of Truth.

We are to learn the truth and bind ourselves with it. This foundational piece of Armour holds us together and, in fact, securely fastens all other pieces in place (like the belt on Roman armour holds the rest of the armour together.)

This is the first stage of being a Christian – learning the truth and making it so much a part of our being that we can’t live without it. When the day of evil comes, we won’t fall apart or be crushed because we are wearing this Belt.

NOTE – If you will look at the verb tenses in verses 14 and 15, you will find that they are in the past tense (having girt, having on, having shod): As Christians, we are already wearing the first three pieces of God’s Armour (the Belt of Truth, the Breastplate of Righteousness, the Shoes of the Gospel of Peace), but it is up to us to make use of them.

“But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left.” (2 Corinthians 6:4a, 7)

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The seven popular “I Am” statements in the book of John are some of believers’ favourite sayings in the whole Word of God. In them, Jesus reveals much about Himself and what He wants to do or be in each of our lives. By declaring Himself the “I Am”, Jesus was clearly identifying Himself as God, the God of Israel, the God of the whole earth, the Creator of the universe. The Old Testament name “LORD” (with all caps) is Jehovah, “I Am”, the self-existent God. Consider the following passages:

Exodus 3:13-15 And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them? And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you. And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations.

Exodus 6:2-3 And God spake unto Moses, and said unto him, I am the LORD: And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty, but by my name JEHOVAH was I not known to them.

I.) It is quite interesting to note that the name Jehovah is in our King James Bible seven times (including the above passage):

Genesis 22:14 And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovahjireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the LORD it shall be seen.

Exodus 17:15 And Moses built an altar, and called the name of it Jehovahnissi:

Judges 6:24 Then Gideon built an altar there unto the LORD, and called it Jehovahshalom: unto this day it is yet in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.

There are nine compound names of the LORD in the Old Testament (ie. Jehovahjireh, etc.) – though only three of them are transliterated into English. I will cover these nine names in Friday’s devotional.

Psalms 83:18 That men may know that thou, whose name alone is JEHOVAH, art the most high over all the earth.

Isaiah 12:2 Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation.

Isaiah 26:4 Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength:

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Psalms 145:1-5 (David’s Psalm of praise.) I will extol thee, my God, O king; and I will bless thy name for ever and ever. Every day will I bless thee; and I will praise thy name for ever and ever. Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable. One generation shall praise thy works to another, and shall declare thy mighty acts. I will speak of the glorious honour of thy majesty, and of thy wondrous works.

The following eight blessings are not presented in order of importance, but in the order the main passages used appear in the Word of God. All the promises of God in the Bible depend upon a personal relationship with Him. If you have trusted the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation, the promises in His Word are yours to claim – including these eight daily blessings:

1) Daily Guidance And Teaching From The Lord (From His Word)

Exodus 13:21-22 And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night: He took not away the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people.

Numbers 9:15-17 And on the day that the tabernacle was reared up the cloud covered the tabernacle, namely, the tent of the testimony: and at even there was upon the tabernacle as it were the appearance of fire, until the morning. So it was alway: the cloud covered it by day, and the appearance of fire by night. And when the cloud was taken up from the tabernacle, then after that the children of Israel journeyed: and in the place where the cloud abode, there the children of Israel pitched their tents.

Look up and consider the next six verses in this passage (Numbers 9:18-23), and notice the seven times the phrase at (according to) the commandment of the LORD is used.

Nehemiah 9:12, 19 Moreover thou leddest them in the day by a cloudy pillar; and in the night by a pillar of fire, to give them light in the way wherein they should go… Yet thou in thy manifold mercies forsookest them not in the wilderness: the pillar of the cloud departed not from them by day, to lead them in the way; neither the pillar of fire by night, to shew them light, and the way wherein they should go.

Every day the Lord God led the nation of Israel in their march through the wilderness – all they had to do was follow His clear guiding, whether it was by night or by day that the pillar moved before them.

Luke 21:38 And all the people came early in the morning to him in the temple, for to hear him.

John 8:2 And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them.

Every morning Jesus was in the temple teaching the people the Word of God. Now we do not have Jesus physically teaching in our midst, but we have the Word of God before us to read and study and the Holy Spirit working through us to teach us God’s will for our lives each day.

Psalms 25:4-5 Shew me thy ways, O LORD; teach me thy paths. Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day.

Are you waiting upon the Lord? Are you seeking His will and determined to follow it as it is revealed step by step to you?

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But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. (Luk 18:16) Jesus loved when children came to Him. Their faith and trust are so simple and innocent. Children do not need complicated explanations or dissertations about God. They just simply trust – no questions – just action. Is it any wonder that Christ wants us to come to Him like children? God desires to be a Father to us. He desires for us to come to Him like a child – with child-like faith, knowing that our Father loves us and will take care of us. Is this too much to expect from your own child? Of course not! Why, then, do Christians struggle in this area of prayer?

Christ wanted us to have an intimate relationship with God. Christ did not want to leave us without power or empty-handed. Christ is our Shepherd and wanted to lead us in the perfect direction so He taught us how to pray. He gave us the perfect prayer. Since perfection is symbolized in the number seven, why does it not surprise me that the Lord’s Prayer would have seven points! The Lord teaches us that we have the most perfect and complete prayer as a pattern for our own prayer life. Some religions teach that you have to repeat this prayer over and over. However, if this were to be so, it would have appeared word-for-word in Luke (Luke 11:2-4) as well but it was worded differently. Christ used this as a pattern to teach us how to pray.

Our pattern has seven points:

(1) Who we are to pray to:

After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. (Mat 6:9) Recognize who you are praying to. Notice that Christ, from the beginning, tells us that we are able to pray to our Father. My friend, because we are born again, we are now able to go to God like a child to his own earthly father! Does this not amaze you? Three times, the Word uses Abba, Father. The number three symbolizes the Godhead. How appropriate that “Abba, Father” appears three times. I simply stand amazed at the perfection of God’s Word!

And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt. (Mar 14:36)

For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. (Rom 8:15)

And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. (Gal 4:6)

This verse continues and teaches us to honor our Father in Heaven. This first verse beginning our prayer time with the Lord teaches us to start with Him; recognize Him for who He is, our Abba, Father; and recognize that He is holy. This sets the mood for our spirit to pray. The number one symbolizes “beginning, one” – how appropriate that this first verse of prayer symbolizes the beginning of perfect prayer to the only One we should pray to!

(2) Acknowledge His Kingdom:

Thy kingdom come. (Matt 6:10) As we are looking forward to His Kingdom and being/reigning with Him, we must also remember that we are to work diligently in building that Kingdom through winning souls. Our Shepherd guides us but it is the sheep who make other sheep, my friend. Isn’t it interesting that the number two symbolizes witnessing and the second verse of our perfect prayer talks about the Kingdom? Whew! I stand amazed at the spiritual beauties and gold nuggets found in my King James Bible.

(3) Desire God’s will:

Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. (Mat 6:10) Why would anyone want anything but God’s will for their lives? It is in His will that we can find perfect peace and rest. God’s perfect will is found in His perfect Word. What do we know to be the will of God? We know that God’s commandments reveal His will. God’s will is taught in the Word through His precepts, statutes and His commandments. God did not leave us empty-handed – we can easily find His will – His perfect law – through His Word. He has given us the Word, in flesh, and left us His Spirit to teach us. What a perfect example of the Godhead – the triune God! Amazingly, the number three symbolizes the Godhead and this verse depicts the Godhead in the perfect will of God.

(4) Petition your Father for your needs:

Give us this day our daily bread. (Mat 6:11) I truly do not believe that Christ is teaching us to pray for our daily physical needs here – otherwise He would be contradicting Himself in the following verses: Mat 6:25-26, Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? (25) Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? (26) Instead, I believe that Christ is teaching us to ask the Father to feed us spiritually. Christ did not want us to worry about food, housing, clothing (earthly, physical needs). So much so, He stressed it again in Mat 6:31-32, Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (31) (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. (32) I believe the Lord was teaching us to seek after the things of God as He did. And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business? (Luk 2:49) The number four symbolizes “earth-creation-world” – how appropriate that the Lord would be teaching us not to be concerned about the things of the world but to be concerned about God – about His Kingdom – about His will – about His Word.

(5) Seek forgiveness and forgive:

And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. (Mat 6:12) How appropriate that the One who gave His life so that we would be forgiven would teach us to seek forgiveness through Him and then forgive others for their transgression. The Provider of forgiveness faithfully goes to the Father seeking forgiveness on our behalf so why should we not follow His pattern? Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. (Luk 23:34a) How can we expect to receive forgiveness and yet not forgive others who have sinned against us or offended us? It was by God’s grace that we’re sent a Saviour to die for our sin so we could receive His forgiveness. It is by God’s grace that we are saved. Nothing we could possibly do would take us even one step closer to Heaven! How appropriate it is that this fifth point of prayer is about receiving God’s grace and the number five symbolizes grace! Thank You, Lord!

(6) God’s protection:

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: (Mat 6:13) This is such a beautiful request depicting a child asking his Father to protect him from evil’s way. This child is asking his Father to show him the path that he should take where he will not be tempted. But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. (Jam 1:14) But if he is tempted because of his own lusts, he can also ask his Father to deliver him and provide a way out of this temptation. There hath no temptation taken you
but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. (1 Cor 10:13)
God is so good to us, my friend. Again, how appropriate that the sixth point of prayer deals with man’s sinful nature and the number six symbolizes man!

(7) Praising God:

For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. (Mat 6:13b) The seventh and final point of prayer teaches us to praise God and acknowledge who He is, that all power is His, and all glory is His, eternally! God’s kingdom will be perfect because He is perfect. His power is complete because He is perfect. Our God deserves all the glory because He is the perfect and holy God. The one and the only God! Again, how appropriate that God’s perfection is reflected in the seventh verse and the number seven symbolizes perfection!

Does it surprise you that the Lord would teach us this perfect pattern of prayer and have it outlined in such a way that it completely reflects the meanings of the numbers from His Word? It does not to me! I stand amazed each time that I dig my nose into His Word, I find something that brings these Bible numbers out! Thank You, Lord!

A Blessing in Prayer
Eliza E. Hewitt

There is rest, sweet rest, at the Master’s feet,
There is favor now at the mercy seat,
For atoning blood has been sprinkled there;
There is always a blessing, a blessing in prayer.

Refrain:
There’s a blessing in prayer, in believing prayer,
When our Savior’s Name to the throne we bear;
Then a Father’s love will receive us there;
There is always a blessing, a blessing in prayer.

There is grace to help in our time of need,
For our Friend above is a Friend, indeed;
We may cast on Him every grief and care;
There is always a blessing, a blessing in prayer.

Refrain

When our songs are glad with the joy of life,
When our hearts are sad with its ills and strife,
When the powers of sin would the soul ensnare,
There is always a blessing, a blessing in prayer.

Refrain

There is perfect peace tho’ the wild waves roll,
There are gifts of love for the seeking soul,
Till we praise the Lord in His home so fair,
There is always a blessing, a blessing in prayer.

Refrain

Have you ever read a biography of someone that made an impact on their generation? I’m sure it was neat to see their name written down for all to see, neat to learn about the differences they made. It is especially edifying to read about Christians who made a difference in the lives of those around them because they did something for the Lord Jesus Christ and His kingdom – they touched lives for the Saviour’s sake.

In Matthew 26:6-13, we have the story of a woman who, grateful for forgiveness and the gift of salvation, sacrificed what could very well have been her most valued possession to honour her Saviour.

Now when Jesus was in Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper, There came unto Him a woman having an alabaster box of very precious ointment, and poured it on his head, as He sat at meat. But when His disciples saw it, they had indignation, saying, To what purpose is this waste? For this ointment might have been sold for much, and given to the poor. When Jesus understood it, He said unto them, Why trouble ye the woman? for she hath wrought a good work upon me. For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always. For in that she hath poured this ointment on my body, she did it for my burial. Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world, there shall also this, that this woman hath done, be told for a memorial of her.

Jesus honoured that woman for her faith. And His statement is very true – every time you read the Gospels, you read the account of her sacrifice. I believe John 12:1-8 is an account of the same event. Both of these accounts mention this event that occurred in Bethany just before Jesus’ final Passover. The book of John gives us this woman’s name: Mary of Bethany (Lazarus’ and Martha’s sister). John 11:2 It was that Mary which anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick. Mary’s name was written down in the eternal Word of God; her name is preserved forever as a memorial to her and an encouragement for others.

In Joshua 10:13 and 2 Samuel 1:18, we have the mention of a book called the book of Jasher, which means upright. Some historians wrote down the names and accounts of some of Israel’s leaders. These books were not inspired of God, and therefore the record of them has been lost over time, but it was important to honour these leaders in future generations, and to remind others of what these godly men did. The names of Joshua, Saul, Jonathan, and others, were written down for all at that time to read or learn about. Later, we have record of the names of David’s mighty and valiant men. (See 1 Chronicles 11-12) Their names are written down for the service they have done for their king. Are our names written down for the service we do for our King?

In the books of Kings and Chronicles, we have mention of several books that recorded the acts, faith, and wisdom of other godly kings, and we have accounts of some less than godly kings! (I wouldn’t want to be remembered for the evil I do!) 1 Kings 11:41 says, And the rest of the acts of Solomon, and all that he did, and his wisdom, are they not written in the book of the acts of Solomon? This phrase is one we see over and over in these books: And the rest of the acts of …, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel?

I love the passage in Malachi 3:16-17 that says Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon His name. And they shall be Mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up My jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him. When true Christians gather together and fellowship with one another about their Lord and Saviour, He remembers and writes their names down in a special book of remembrance, as those that have honoured Him. Jesus Christ places great value on our sweet meditations of Him. May all our meditations be pleasing to the Lord! Psalm 19:14 Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in Thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.

In the book of Hebrews (chapter 11), we have the names of many Old Testament saints who honoured the Lord through their acts of faith. We are able to see how these believers lived by faith, and how some even died in faith. Their names were written down in the inspired Word of God, to honour them and exhort others to be likewise faithful. The Lord remembers those who are His!

I believe that the canon of Scripture was closed at the end of the first century, when the Apostle John penned the last line of the book of Revelation. For the sake of this illustration, if the Lord was still writing Scripture, would your name be written down? Hebrews 10:38 says Now the just shall live by faith… Are you living by faith? Are you serving by faith? Are you seeking Him (in prayer) by faith? Would the Lord have something good to say about the way you lived your life in His name? Or would He be sadly disappointed with you as He will be with many at His return? Luke 18:8 …Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall He find faith on the earth?

But more important than having your name written down in a book of remembrance: Is your name written down in the Lamb’s Book of Life? This book is the record of all the names of those that have placed personal faith in the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, and His death on the cross for their sins. Philippians 4:3 And I intreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellowlabourers, whose names are in the book of life.

There are seven references to the Lamb’s Book of Life in the book of Revelation (3:5; 13:8; 17:8; 20:12, 15; 21:27; 22:19).

Revelation 3:5 He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before My Father, and before His angels. This is a promise to believers in the Church Age, that if they overcome through personal faith in Jesus Christ, their names will be written forever in the Lamb’s Book of Life. (See 1 John 5:4-5) This verse teaches eternal security for believers when we consider that it is not a threat, but a promise to keep their names in this book. In the dark ages, the Catholic Church excommunicated true Bible believers and threatened them with removing their names from their church rolls. Because they taught that salvation was found only through “The Church” (meaning the Catholic Church), when someone left the Catholic church (voluntarily or involuntarily), they were threatened with the proclaimed loss of their salvation. But we see here that whether or not someone’s name is written on a church roll, whether their name is written down in Heaven is what is most important! Luke 10:20 …Rejoice, because your names are written in heaven. Even if the whole world rejects us as believers, we just need to believe 2 Timothy 2:19: Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are His. Our Heavenly Father will never forget who His children are!

In Revelation 17:8, the Bible teaches that true believers’ names were written down in the Lamb’s Book of Life from before the foundation of the world! Jesus Christ knew before He ever created the world who would respond to His precious
gift of eternal salvation.

Revelation 20:11-15 And I saw a great white throne, and Him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

At the end of the Millenium, when all the unsaved are judged at the Great White Throne Judgement, the basis of judgement will be whether someone’s name was written in the Lamb’s Book of Life or not. As it turns out, no unsaved person’s name will be written down there. There might be a blank space where their name could have been. Then they will be judged for all the evil acts, words, and thoughts that they have ever committed. All these evil works will be written down in God’s books.

But we need not face this judgement! The Bible teaches that when we turn in repentance and faith toward the Saviour, believing in His death for our sins, in His burial, and His literal physical resurrection, then He wipes out the record of all our sins! They will no longer be written down, but our names will already have been written down in His book of the saved.

Has there ever been a time and place in your life when you realized that you were a sinner before Almighty God? The Bible teaches that All have sinned. (Romans 3:23) Have you ever repented of your sins (which means acknowledge to God that you have sinned against Him, and turned from your sins), and turned toward the only Saviour who paid the complete penalty for your sins? Acts 20:21 says Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.

It is not enough to simply turn from your sins, you need to receive the Saviour and be born again through faith in Him. (See John 1:11-13 and 3:3, 7) The Bible teaches that we cannot earn our way to Heaven through our good works, but we must receive salvation as the free gift of God. It is something that we could never earn. Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. (See also Titus 3:5) Our righteousness is as filthy rags in God’s sight. (Isaiah 64:6) We need the perfect righteousness of the sinless Son of God, who shed His blood to pay for our sins. (See 1 Peter 1:18-19) When we realize that we cannot earn salvation, but we accept His gift, we are made children of God that very moment. All those that have ever trusted in Jesus Christ for salvation (or those who will ever trust Him), have had their names written down for eternity in the Lamb’s Book of Life.

Revelation 21:25-27 And the gates of it (the New Jerusalem) shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there. And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it. And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

Is your name written down?

I sure hope so. I’d love to see you in Heaven someday!

June 22th/02
By Jerry Bouey

It is not a coincidence that the Holy Spirit of God would be depicted as a dove. It’s a wonderful picture – gentle in descent – cooing. God’s Spirit gently comes on us – He is not forceful, but “lights” on us. His “cooing” is not a blaring noise or a scream – but a gentle coo – a still small voice, which works in our hearts to woo us to Christ. Thoughts like these bring great comfort to me. They still my troubled spirit and create in me a calmness. We can be in the midst of the most tumultuous storm in our lives but the Spirit brings us comfort, reminding us that God is in control of even the worst of storms. God is not the author of confusion – He does not have to resort to such measures to get our attention. For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints. (1 Cor 14:33) Instead, He has left us with the Holy Spirit to draw us to Him. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. (Jam 4:8a)

The Holy Spirit is called the Comforter. Oh joy! God’s Word doesn’t coincidentally portray Him as such. God meant to show us that although He is a Judge, He is also our Saviour and our Comforter! As I searched for the word comforter, I discovered that it was conveniently used seven times in the King James Bible! The joys that come from God’s Word when we but only search through it. How blessed we are!

(1) So I returned, and considered all the oppressions that are done under the sun: and behold the tears of such as were oppressed, and they had no comforter; and on the side of their oppressors there was power; but they had no comforter. (Ecc 4:1) Solomon, the wisest except for Christ, said that he observed all those who were oppressed and they had no comforter. We are no longer over powered by the devil and sin. We are no longer over burdened with the load of sin. We have freedom through Christ Jesus! We have the Comforter, given to us at the time of salvation and we are, therefore, sealed unto the day of redemption! And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. (Eph 4:30) The first mention of the word comforter is applied to mankind being separated from God. There is no comfort outside of God, my friend. Only He can provide a comfort which is lasting – nothing else can bring this kind of comfort to the soul. The Hebrew word for comforter here is:

H5162
נחם
nâcham
naw-kham’
A primitive root; properly to sigh, that is, breathe strongly; by implication to be sorry, that is, (in a favorable sense) to pity, console or (reflexively) rue; or (unfavorably) to avenge (oneself): – comfort (self), ease [one’s self], repent (-er, -ing, self).

It is not a coincidence that these definitions describe the Holy Spirit’s ministry. I also thought of the verse where Christ breathed upon His disciples so they could receive the Holy Spirit. And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: (Joh 20:22) Jesus said and did this right after He told them “Peace be unto you” in the previous verse. The Holy Spirit definitely brings peace to the believer – what a Comforter He is!

(2) Her filthiness is in her skirts; she remembereth not her last end; therefore she came down wonderfully: she had no comforter. O LORD, behold my affliction: for the enemy hath magnified himself. (Lam 1:9) The unsaved do not have this wonderful Comforter as we do. The enemy reigns in their lives and sin rules their bodies. Jeremiah weeped because Zion had defiled the things of God. They did not have the Comforter convicting them of sin as we have Him today.

This is the second appearance of the word comforter. The number two, symbolizing “witness or separation,” is evidenced in why the Comforter was not with Zion. They had defiled the things of God – they were no longer separated and a peculiar people unto God! The heathen could not see anything different about God’s people.

(3) For these things I weep; mine eye, mine eye runneth down with water, because the comforter that should relieve my soul is far from me: my children are desolate, because the enemy prevailed. (Lam 1:16) Our Blessed Comforter relieves our soul from eternal damnation – from an eternity of burning in hell’s fire – from eternal separation from the Saviour! Praise the Lord for the wonderful work of the Holy Spirit who woos us to Christ and brings us to the saving power of the Cross! There is salvation only through God. The number three symbolizes the Godhead. How appropriate that we find this beautiful Triune God in (1 Jo 5:7) For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. The Holy Spirit testifies of Christ, draws us to Him and brings to memory what His Word teaches (John 15:26).

(4) And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; (Joh 14:16) I lost my father in 1993 and I grieved so deeply for him. How I missed his presence and his teasing! When my mother passed away, I felt like an orphan, even though I was almost 50 years old at the time. It is not so with our Heavenly Father! He has left us His Spirit, our Comforter, who promises to abide with us forever! Jesus Himself promised us this! What a glorious promise it is indeed! I am not an orphan at all! I was born into God’s family on April 1st, 1980, and His Comforter was given to me to be with me forever! Oh Glory!! This is the I fourth mention of the Comforter. The number four symbolizes “earth, creation, and world.” Despite the fact that earth shall pass away, our Comforter is with us forever. He will never leave us (Heb. 13:5b) … for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

(5) But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. (Joh 14:26) This same Comforter is not only with us forever, but He also is our Teacher! He wrote the Word of God. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. (2 Pe 1:21) Who better to interpret the Word to us than the One Who wrote it? We don’t need someone to interpret God’s Word for us. If we are diligently seeking the Lord’s will in our lives through His Word, He will show us what He desires for us. I did not go to church for three months after I was first saved. During those three months, I was very studious and read my Bible at least three hours a day and soaked it in like a sponge. When I heard my first message preached three months later, everything that the preacher said had been taught to me by the Comforter Himself! I definitely was comforted and elated at that very moment. I knew that God had taught me during my readings and He was the one that had taken care of me spiritually so I would not be drawn to false doctrine! What a blessing this was to me! This was my first experience knowing that I was His child and He would care for me!

This fifth (five symbolizing grace, cross, atonement, life) appearance of the Comforter shows us that the Holy Spirit will bring to mind and teach us from His Word all that we need to know regarding Christ and how to live the Christian life. Coincidence? I doubt it! Can this beautiful pattern of God’s numbering be duplicated in any other version than the King James? Nope! Ju
st for the fun of it, I looked up the word in a few other versions and some had more and some had less. God means for us to be blessed by His Words. He means for us to find golden nuggets within the pages of our Kings James Bible, my friend. All we need to do is search them out. Bless His Holy Name!

(6) But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: (Joh 15:26) Our Comforter is also the One who will reveal Christ to us. He woos us to Christ, He pricks our heart and convicts us of our sin so we see the need of Christ, then He molds us to be like Christ. As He teaches us the truths from the Word, He testifies of Christ and glorifies Him through our yielded lives. What a beautiful portrait! This is the sixth appearance of the word Comforter – six symbolizes man. Man cannot gain entrance to Heaven without Christ. Man is lost and on his way to hell without Christ. How wonderful that God would place the sixth appearance of the Comforter in this light – showing man his need of salvation through the work of the Comforter!

(7) Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. (Joh 16:7) Our Saviour did not leave us empty handed upon His departure. He left us in good hands. He left us His Spirit to dwell within us. This Comforter was sent to us by the Good Shepherd who knew exactly what we needed to complete our mission here on earth! Bless God! Glory to the Highest! Our comfort is complete because of the work of the Holy Spirit, our Comforter! God’s perfect love for us is shown by leaving His Spirit with us! Perfection, again, in the Trinity is shown here by the seventh use of this blessed word comforter!

Brother Jerry Bouey added these insights – what a blessing!

“First of all, we have the promise of the Comforter. The word ‘Comforter’ is interesting. It is used to translate a Greek word, Parakletos, which is a compound word meaning, one who comes to the side of another, that is a helper in time of need. In the First Epistle of John (chap. 2:1) we have ‘Advocate,’ which is exactly the same word in the original.

There is a sweetness and preciousness about that word ‘Comforter’ that appeals to the heart. After all, we cannot use any other word in our language that would so adequately represent the Greek word, for the Paraklete is in very truth the Comforter. Our English word ‘Comforter’ is also a compound. ‘Comforter’ comes from two Latin words – con, and fortis, the one meaning ‘to be in company with,’ and the other ‘to strengthen,’ so that actually the Comforter is one who strengthens by companionship. That is one of the great ministries of the Holy Spirit. The Paraclete is one who comes to your side to help, to give aid, and so the word is properly used. An attorney-at-law, or an advocate, is one who comes to help you in your legal difficulties, and the Holy Spirit is all this. He has come from heaven, as promised by our blessed Lord, to assist us in every crisis, in every time of difficulty that may arise in our Christian lives – He strengthens by His companionship.” (Quoted from Addresses On The Gospel Of John by H.A. Ironside, pages 622-623)

Jerry’s added comment:

A trace of the root words behind Parakletos gives us this definition: “One who is called alongside.” With these two definitions (ie. Ironside’s and Strong’s) taken together, we arrive at the conclusion that the Comforter is “one who comes alongside to strengthen” – in this case, strengthening from the inside. That is a wonderful picture. A believer can come alongside and strengthen someone else with their words of comfort, but the Holy Spirit does His special work of comfort from the inside, using the Word of God as His means of comforting.

This series has truly proven to be quite a blessing! Never did I imagine that we could glean so many “groupings and numbers” in God’s Word! The joy that I have received is more than I can contain!

The Comforter

I remember that day like it was yesterday.
I realized I was doomed, pretty hopeless I’ll say.
But The Comforter entered and brought me such peace.
I knew I was different, that burden released.

Those tears just kept coming, His Love could it be?
How precious and sacred that time was to me!
He washed me and saved me from sin and despair.
I was heading for hell, it seemed no one cared.

But my Heavenly Father loved a wretch such as me.
That He sent His Dear Son to shed blood on a tree.
He took upon Him all my sin and my shame.
That some day with Him I would be able to reign.

Praise my Wonderful Lord from Whom all Blessings Flow.
How wonderful these words, how they bless my soul.
How wondrous for me is this Act of Great Love.
Provided by my Father from Heaven Above!

Thank you Lord for saving my soul!

Kate Plourde

I have truly been enjoying this series of the numbers from the Bible. Everything I read now, I am looking for something to glean in this area! I was in Genesis 15 the other day and read “I am the LORD that…” When I did a search for that phrase in my electronic Bible, I discovered seven beautiful verses! I just stand amazed how these blessings have been hidden from me all these years and are coming out through this series! Let’s review the seven things the Lord does.

(1) The Lord that brings us out. (Gen 15:7) And he said unto him, I am the LORD that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it. The Lord God brings us from of a life without Christ to an eternal inheritance in Heaven. He is the One who brings us out of the world to salvation.

(2) The Lord that heals us. (Exo 15:26) And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that healeth thee. The Lord heals us, not only physically but spiritually. (Isa 53:5) But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. Without Christ’s death on the cross, we would not have salvation.

(3) The Lord that sanctifies us. (Exo 31:13) Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the LORD that doth sanctify you. The Lord sanctifies us. (Heb 10:10) By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. God sets us apart from the world. He wants us to be a peculiar people. But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: (1 Pe 2:9) Noah Webster defines peculiar as:

Exclusive property; that which belongs to a person in exclusion of others.

We are the Lord’s exclusive property. He has purchased us with His own blood. Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory. (Eph 1:14)

(4) The Lord that brings us out of the world. (Lev 11:45) For I am the LORD that bringeth you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: ye shall therefore be holy, for I am holy. We cannot change ourselves. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. (Joh 15:19) It is the Holy Spirit of God that convicts us and molds us into the likeness of Jesus Christ. God does not leave us helpless once we are saved. But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him. (1 Jo 2:27)

(5) The Lord that knows us. (Isa 44:24) Thus saith the LORD, thy redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb, I am the LORD that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself; The Creator of all things formed us and knows us intimately. (Col 1:16) For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: God outlines His qualifications in Is. 44:24. Who better than the Creator of all to take care of us? Is any detail too intricate for Him? Just meditating on the human body and all of its intricacies should answer this. Look at the inner ear! The smallest bone in the human body abides there! The God who created a planet created this tiny bone!

(6) The Lord that chastens. (Eze 7:9) And mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity: I will recompense thee according to thy ways and thine abominations that are in the midst of thee; and ye shall know that I am the LORD that smiteth. Noah Webster defines smiteth as:

4. To afflict; to chasten; to punish. Let us not mistake God’s goodness, nor imagine, because he smites us, that we are forsaken by him.

(Heb 12:6) For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. Praise God that we are His child! He will not allow us to continue in sin, my friend. He will chasten us to mold us and form us into His image. If we ignore His chastening and cause harm to His ministry, He will take us home. Ananias and Sapphira are good examples of this.

(7) The Lord that judges. Moreover also I gave them my sabbaths, to be a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am the LORD that sanctify them. But the house of Israel rebelled against me in the wilderness: they walked not in my statutes, and they despised my judgments, which if a man do, he shall even live in them; and my sabbaths they greatly polluted: then I said, I would pour out my fury upon them in the wilderness, to consume them. (Eze 20:12-13) We should not take lightly what the Lord commands us to do as a nation and as a church. He has not only set us apart and sanctified us but He expects us to follow and obey His Word. Many believers today do not view the God of Heaven as a God of fury and judgment. This side of God is taken lightly. But we cannot forget the history found in the Word. God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. Our country is reaping what it has sown through the years of continuing down the path away from God. God has begun His judgment on our nation. It is evident in the news daily. He is also judging the church. I have often wondered how Christ’s words in Luke 18:8 could come to past. I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth? (Luk 18:8) But I can clearly see it happening today. Soul winning has changed dramatically since I was first saved 27 years ago. There are more and more people who have not even heard of Jesus Christ. I never thought I would ever see this for myself.

Perfection provides us with all that we need. God tells us that He is the Lord that:

1. Gives us eternal life
2. Heals us spiritually
3. Sanctifies us
4. Brings us out of the world
5. Made all things so He knows us intimately
6. Chastises
7. Judges our country and the church

God is complete – His provisions are complete – His Word is complete – His judgment is complete.

GOD IS WORKING HIS PURPOSE OUT
Ar­thur C. Ain­ger, 1894.

God is working His purpose out
As year succeeds to year;
God is working His purpose out,
And the time is drawing near;
Nearer and nearer draws the time,
The time that shall surely be,
When the earth shall be filled
With the glory of God
As the waters cover the sea.

From utmost east to utmost west,
Where’er man’s foot hath trod,
By the mouth of many messengers
Goes forth the voice of God:
“Give ear to Me, ye continents,
Ye isles,
give ear to Me,”
That the earth may be filled
With the glory of God
As the waters cover the sea.

What can we do to work God’s work,
To prosper and increase
The brotherhood of all mankind,
The reign of the Prince of Peace?
What can we do to hasten the time,
The time that shall surely be,
When the earth shall be filled
With the glory of God
As the waters cover the sea.

March we forth in the strength of God,
With the banner of Christ unfurled,
That the light of the glorious Gospel of truth
May shine throughout the world;
Fight we the fight with sorrow and sin
To set their captives free,
That the earth may be filled
With the glory of God
As the waters cover the sea.

All we can do is nothing worth
Unless God blesses the deed;
Vainly we hope for the harvest-tide
Till God gives life to the seed;
Yet near and nearer draws the time,
The time that shall surely be,
When the earth shall be filled
With the glory of God
As the waters cover the sea.

1 Corinthians 10:4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.

It is interesting to note that this fourfold picture is unfolded in chronological order in the Bible.

1) The Rock Must Be Smitten

Exodus 17:1-7 And all the congregation of the children of Israel journeyed from the wilderness of Sin, after their journeys, according to the commandment of the LORD, and pitched in Rephidim: and there was no water for the people to drink. Wherefore the people did chide with Moses, and said, Give us water that we may drink. And Moses said unto them, Why chide ye with me? wherefore do ye tempt the LORD? And the people thirsted there for water; and the people murmured against Moses, and said, Wherefore is this that thou hast brought us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our cattle with thirst? And Moses cried unto the LORD, saying, What shall I do unto this people? they be almost ready to stone me. And the LORD said unto Moses, Go on before the people, and take with thee of the elders of Israel; and thy rod, wherewith thou smotest the river, take in thine hand, and go. Behold, I will stand before thee there upon the rock in Horeb; and thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink. And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel. And he called the name of the place Massah, and Meribah, because of the chiding of the children of Israel, and because they tempted the LORD, saying, Is the LORD among us, or not?

In order for the life-giving (living) water to flow, the rock had to be smitten with the rod of judgment – the same rod that Moses used to judge the nation of Egypt.

This pictured the Lord Jesus Christ being smitten with the rod of men (for our iniquity, not His own – see 2 Samuel 7:14), being smitten of God for our sins, being judged in our place. The Rock had to be struck BEFORE the Living Water could flow forth!

Isaiah 53:4-5 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

“The Lord Jesus, as one hymn says, is “a Rock in a weary land.” Although this is a marvelous picture of Him as the foundation — the One upon whom we rest and the One upon whom the church is built — a rock is the last place we go for a drink of water… Jesus is a Rock, but His beautiful life and durability will not save you. His teachings will not redeem your soul. His life and teachings are like polished marble which are engraved and, though you apply them to your life with Carborundum or optician’s rouge, they still won’t save you. The application of the principles taught by the Lord Jesus may polish you a little, but He is still that Rock against which you can dash your foot.

You can fall on the Rock Christ Jesus for salvation, but no human effort is able to get water from this Rock. Only when the rock was smitten did it bring forth life-giving waters. Jesus was crucified, and nothing short of believing that He died in your place and bore your sins on that cross will save you. The smitten rock is a picture of the death of Jesus Christ.” (McGee, J. Vernon, Thru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee, [Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers] 2000, c1981.)

The rock was smitten and the water flowed forth – plenty to quench the thirst and meet all the daily needs of every single person in the nation of Israel. Life-giving water was now freely available to every man, woman, and child – whosoever would. This Living Water from the Rock is freely available to whosoever will – now that the Rock, Jesus Christ, has been smitten:

Revelation 22:17 And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

Have you drunk water from the Rock?

2) We Must Be Hid In The Cleft Of The Rock

Exodus 33:12-14 And Moses said unto the LORD, See, thou sayest unto me, Bring up this people: and thou hast not let me know whom thou wilt send with me. Yet thou hast said, I know thee by name, and thou hast also found grace in my sight. Now therefore, I pray thee, if I have found grace in thy sight, shew me now thy way, that I may know thee, that I may find grace in thy sight: and consider that this nation is thy people. And he said, My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest.

Exodus 33:18-23 And he said, I beseech thee, shew me thy glory. And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy. And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live. And the LORD said, Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock: And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by: And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen.

Moses desired to know the Lord even more than he did already, longed to draw even closer to Him, wanted to experience even more grace in His sight – and petitioned the Lord to let him see God’s glory. The only way that was possible was for God to stand Moses upon a rock, and then to put him in the cleft of the rock.

The only way we can see God’s glory is to be hid in the cleft of the Rock – the Rock of Ages that was cleft for us on Calvary! We are hidden in the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, when we place our faith in Him alone to save us. From that moment on, we are in Christ. Being “in Christ” is one of the main themes of the book of Ephesians.

But notice one other thing about the passage above: God told Moses that he was to stand upon the rock. What is the foundation of your life – what are you standing on? Have you built your life upon the shifting sands of this world, or upon the steadfast foundation of the solid Rock, the Lord Jesus Christ?

Matthew 7:24-27 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.

1 Corinthians 3:11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

Jesus is the only sure and lasting foundation! If you want to know the Lord God personally – as your own Heavenly Father, if you want to have close, intimate fellowship with Him – you must be hidden in the cleft of the Rock and you must be standing upon the Rock as your foundation.

Isaiah 28:16 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.

3) Now We Need To Only Speak To The Rock

Numbers 20:7-13 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Take the rod, an
d gather thou the assembly together, thou, and Aaron thy brother, and speak ye unto the rock before their eyes; and it shall give forth his water, and thou shalt bring forth to them water out of the rock: so thou shalt give the congregation and their beasts drink.
And Moses took the rod from before the LORD, as he commanded him. And Moses and Aaron gathered the congregation together before the rock, and he said unto them, Hear now, ye rebels; must we fetch you water out of this rock? And Moses lifted up his hand, and with his rod he smote the rock twice: and the water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their beasts also. And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron, Because ye believed me not, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them. This is the water of Meribah; because the children of Israel strove with the LORD, and he was sanctified in them.

Moses was commanded to only speak to the rock and the water would flow forth abundantly out of it. God was continuing the picture here – the rock did not need to be struck again to bless the people. It has already been smitten!

Similarly, our Rock does not need to be struck again to bring blessing to His people. Jesus was already smitten for our sins – the penalty was already paid, judgment was already poured out – and the water is still freely flowing forth!

Consider these passages:

Hebrews 7:25-27 Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this he did once, when he offered up himself.

Hebrews 9:25-28 Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others; For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.

It is interesting to note that the book of Hebrews mentions seven times that Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins was a one-time offering, He only needed to die once (and in fact, we cannot be saved unless we place our faith in His finished work upon the cross of Calvary, place our faith in His complete atonement for our sins). In addition to the three times the word once was quoted above, we see four more references in Hebrews (read surrounding verses for context):

Hebrews 9:12 Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.

Hebrews 10:10 By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

Hebrews 10:12 But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;

Hebrews 10:14 For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.

The Rock was struck once – it did not need to be struck again. That is where Moses and Aaron sinned in not trusting/believing the Lord in this regard, but in spite of their sin, God was still glorified in the sight of the people – and the water still flowed forth! Praise the Lord for His mercy and grace! The Living Water was still flowing freely. As the great hymnwriter, Philip Bliss, so eloquently expressed in his hymn:

Once for all, O sinner, receive it,
Once for all, O brother, believe it;
Cling to the cross, the burden will fall,
Christ hath redeemed us once for all.

Life-giving water was available for the asking. All that was needed for the blessing to flow forth from the rock was for someone to speak to it. If you want God’s blessing and provision in your life, make sure you are standing on the Rock and hidden in Him, then keep speaking to the Rock in daily fellowship. Living Water is flowing forth, and is ours when we speak to the Rock!

“From the Rock, Christ Jesus, come spiritual blessings today. The waters of blessing gush forth to relieve parched lips. Ephesians 1:3 informs us that, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.” The Rock was smitten once and from it flows an abundance of water. The fountain is brimfull. The stream is bank full. The world is not able to contain it.” (McGee, J. Vernon, Thru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee, [Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers] 2000, c1981.)

4) Spring Up, O Well

Numbers 21:16-18 And from thence they went to Beer: that is the well whereof the LORD spake unto Moses, Gather the people together, and I will give them water. Then Israel sang this song, Spring up, O well; sing ye unto it: The princes digged the well, the nobles of the people digged it, by the direction of the lawgiver, with their staves. And from the wilderness they went to Mattanah:

This is the first song we see the nation of Israel singing during their wilderness wanderings. A song of praise and thanksgiving – appreciation at last for the life-giving water that God had provided for their needs.

The word sing in verse 17 means “properly, to eye or (generally) to heed, i.e. pay attention; by implication, to respond; by extens. to begin to speak; specifically to sing, shout, testify, announce.” I think now the nation of Israel was learning the lesson that the Lord was longing to teach them: just ask me, and I will freely give you the Living Water!

John 4:10, 14 Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water… But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.

In this passage in Numbers 21, we see Israel listening to the Lord, and digging the well according to the direction of the lawgiver, Moses. That presents another valuable lesson for us today: in order for the Lord to spring forth His blessings in our lives, we need to be heeding His Word! They followed the direction of the lawgiver – we need to follow and obey God’s Word each day as well.

Notice also, after they dug the well according to God’s Word, they went from the wilderness to Mattanah. Mattanah means “a present; specifically (in a good sense), a sacrificial offering, (in a bad sense) a bribe.” Have you drunk of the Living Water flowing forth from the Rock? Are you thankful for all the blessings the Lord has poured out upon your life, upon your home, upon your church family? Are you presenting yourself to the Lord as a living sacrifice, as a sacrificial gift? Just something to ponder.

Conclusion:

The death of the Lord Jesus Christ was necessary for our salvation – there would have been no Living Water flowing forth from the Rock if it had not been smitten. The Saviour died upon the cross, shed His precious blood for our sins, was buried, and then physically, gloriously arose three days and three nights later. Jesus is alive forevermore, and able to give His Living Water to all who seek Him!
< br />John 14:19 Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also.

Romans 4:24-25 But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.

Romans 5:10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.

Isaiah 12:2-3 Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation. Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.

Song of Solomon 2:14 O my dove, that art in the clefts of the rock, in the secret places of the stairs, let me see thy countenance, let me hear thy voice; for sweet is thy voice, and thy countenance is comely.

Are you hidden in the clefts of the Rock? The Lord is longing to hear your voice. Are you speaking to the Rock? Come boldly unto Jesus today.

Hebrews 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. (See also 10:22)

For more indepth studies that build upon some of the themes presented in this devotion, see: The Rock Of Horeb, Without Blemish In Christ – Part 1 and The Glory Of The New Testament (Covenant) – Part 2.

June 3rd/07
Jerry Bouey

Dear God…
The water from the Rock flows free
We thirst no more, who thrive
Upon Your Word, we long to drink
Without we could not survive!