Watch and Wait
Just open your eyes, and see how the wicked are punished. If you make the Lord your refuge, if you make the Most High your shelter, no evil will conquer you; no plague will come near your home. For he will order his angels to protect you wherever you go. They will hold you up with their hands so you won't even hurt your foot on a stone. You will trample upon lions and cobras; you will crush fierce lions and serpents under your feet! The Lord says, I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name. When they call on me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honor them. I will reward them with a long life and give them my salvation. Psalms 91:8-16 NLT
Watch and wait dear friend. The wicked will meet their fate if they do not repent. Inevitably, their evil conduct will end in utter destruction. Wickedness can never lead to a good end. Doing what is wrong will never lead to the right place. Doing what is right will never lead to the wrong place. Choosing to accept and obey the Most High (El-Elyon in Hebrew) is the way to live. God will always provide for and protect the interest of His children. The revenue of His resources never recede. The vigor of His virtue never varies. The prowess of His power never perishes. The wisdom of His Word never wanes. The wise man will link his life with the Lordship of Jesus Christ! The foolish man will ignore Him at the expense of his life, his children's lives, and eternity. Let others laugh and scoff at us as God's children! Their fate is impending. Ours is sound, safe, and secure in the Savior!! Although the world is under an evil regime, we who are God's children are not under Satan's control. We are free from the slavery of sin. We are royal in our lineage. We have been adopted into the family of God! Our inheritance is incomparable. We have angels as our escorts in life. For the angel of the Lord is a guard; he surrounds and defends all who fear him. Psalms 34:7NLT Therefore, angels are only servants, spirits sent to care for people who will inherit salvation. Hebrews 1:14 NLT God has dispatched angelic protection over His children. Even Satan knows this fact. In Matthew 4:5-7, and Luke 4:9-12, on the mount of temptation, he quoted Psalm 91:11-12 to Jesus in an attempt to twist its application and get Jesus to jump off the highest point of the Temple. Satan has always twisted God's Word to get people to be deceived. We must understand it's proper text, context, and application. For example: we can't claim the promise of angelic protection, jump off of the Empire State Building in New York, and expect to live. That is utter foolishness. On the other hand, we can live life with the confident assurance that God is with us and His angels are guarding us. We must believe and proclaim that! Finally, God promises to rescue those who love Him and honor His name! He declares the blessing of long life to those who honor and fear Him! Not only is this applicable in the current human world, but eternal life in the coming new heaven and earth!! Amen!!
Trust the Word of God
This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him. For he will rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly disease. He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection. Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night, nor the arrow that flies in the day. Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness, nor the disaster that strikes at midday. Though a thousand fall at your side, though ten thousand are dying around you, these evils will not touch you.” Psalms 91:2-7 NLT
If you are a devout follower of the Lord Jesus Christ, claim these promises today. Interestingly, the psalmist issues imagery to describe God's covering. He uses feathers and wings. This doesn't mean that God is a great big chicken. This simply implies that He gathers His children beneath the His wings as a mother hen does her little ones. This same imagery is used by Jesus in Luke's gospel account: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones God’s messengers! How often I have wanted to gather your children together as a hen protects her chicks beneath her wings, but you wouldn’t let me.” Luke 13:34 NLT God desires to cover and protect His children. Run to Him! Let Him shelter you beneath His wings. He is your refuge and place of safety. If you will fully trust in Him He will rescue you from every trap and deliver you from every disease. His Word will not fail you. Do not trust in your own understanding or man's ideas. Trust the Word of God!!! As His children, we need not be afraid!! He is with us! The devils crowd may boast themselves in their own achievements or successes, but God's child has victory in every situation. We are eternally successful. Our heritage is forever and our reward is incorruptible! Walk in the presence and power of God dear child! You are His, in Jesus Name!!!
Living In the Shelter
Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
Psalms 91:1 NLT
When we walk in intimate fellowship with God we find refuge in His presence. This reminds me of the marriage relationship. A woman is supposed to have the protective covering of her husband. When a man has godly character, his wife can safely trust his authority. When the wife is a godly woman her husband is complimented by her character. Together, they can walk in a safe and secure relationship. This provides a haven of love, joy, peace, and all things that foster a healthy home. In that home is purpose, provision, promotion, instruction, correction, direction, and a place to belong. When we have this kind of relationship in marriage, it makes home a safe place to land. Once we arrive home and we are safe inside, we feel secure. There we communicate and interact as family. There we develop character. There we prepare to live in the world around us.The same is true in our relationship with God! God is the groom and we (the church) are His bride! His character is absolute Holiness. When we submit to, and walk in union with, Him we honor His character and dwell beneath His sheltering righteousness! We experience a robust and healthy intimacy that takes us into a place where we find absolute satisfaction. In His shadow (image) we find rest. There we find refuge, safety, and security. There we have purpose, provision, promotion, instruction, correction, direction, and a place to belong. There we enjoy family. There we develop character. There we prepare to live in this world. There is something very foundational and essential to an intimate relationship with God!!
What Are You Building On?
“O Lord, come back to us! How long will you delay? Take pity on your servants! Satisfy us each morning with your unfailing love, so we may sing for joy to the end of our lives. Give us gladness in proportion to our former misery! Replace the evil years with good. Let us, your servants, see you work again; let our children see your glory. And may the Lord our God show us his approval and make our efforts successful. Yes, make our efforts successful!”
Psalms 90:13-17 NLT
The psalmist expresses his desire for the presence and blessing of God to return to the land. He longs for God days to return!! Yes, I said that correctly. Ponder on that a moment. True goodness comes from God. Without the presence of God the blessing is removed. God is omnipresent. This means that He is everywhere. There is no place we can go that His presence cannot be known. However, when we walk in rebellion against Him we separate ourselves from His fellowship and the accompanying favor and blessing that come from walking in union with Him. When we, as individuals, families, churches, communities, cities, counties, states, and countries, ignore His Lordship we suffer the consequences of our actions. Good days come from the hand of God! Let's not wait until we are in destitution and desperation before we recognize where we are in our relationship with God. When things are good, it is easy to become comfortable and complacent. In these moments, we tend to stray because of our proneness to carnal things. When we stray from Him and walk in our own ways, it is just a matter of time before we meet the consequences of that way of life. Only when we walk in obedience to the Person and presence of the Holy Spirit can we walk in obedience and in unity with God. There we find love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. This is the fruit of God that is manifested to, and through, us by the power and presence of the Holy Spirit (see Galatians 5:22-23). This is the epitome of success. Our efforts will be blessed when they are beneath the loving Lordship of Jesus Christ. Let's take a quick moment to consider success. What is it? Some think success is a good education, a good job, a nice home, a fine vehicle, and a healthy family. This is a form of temporary success but, without God at the center, it will be short lived and ultimately come to an end. Building anything without a proper foundation is foolish. “Then I observed that most people are motivated to success because they envy their neighbors. But this, too, is meaningless—like chasing the wind.” Ecclesiastes 4:4 NLT No matter what "accomplishments" we may achieve in life, if we don't have Jesus at the center, it is utterly futile. True success is building one's life upon the person and principles of Almighty God! Consider these few verses:
“Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do.” Joshua 1:8 NLT
“Uzziah sought God during the days of Zechariah, who taught him to fear God. And as long as the king sought guidance from the Lord, God gave him success.” 2 Chronicles 26:5 NLT “Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers. But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.” Psalms 1:1-3 NLT “Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.” Matthew 7:24-27 NLT What are you building on?
The Infinite Creator
You sweep people away like dreams that disappear. They are like grass that springs up in the morning. In the morning it blooms and flourishes, but by evening it is dry and withered. We wither beneath your anger; we are overwhelmed by your fury. You spread out our sins before you— our secret sins—and you see them all. We live our lives beneath your wrath, ending our years with a groan. Seventy years are given to us! Some even live to eighty. But even the best years are filled with pain and trouble; soon they disappear, and we fly away. Who can comprehend the power of your anger? Your wrath is as awesome as the fear you deserve. Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom.” Psalms 90:5-12 NLT
We are finite human beings! God is the infinite Creator!!! The psalmist is stating the reality of God's absolute power and control over us. We must be reminded not to think too highly of ourselves. We are NOT God!! We are His created!! We are completely dependent upon Him for all things. When we, somehow, think that we are self-existent and self-sustainable we make a fatal conclusion. Without God, we are futile, fatal, and final creatures. Life without God is an oxymoron. An oxymoron is a paradox of terms. There is no life without God! That is why we suffer beneath the bondage of our depravity. Sin has separated humanity from God! Sin has tainted our intended, created existence. We were made to thrive but sin has cast a darkness upon the world. Only in Jesus Christ can we walk in the light and navigate through the maze of this fallen world!
“But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.” 1 John 1:7 NLT
This current state of life we experience is only temporary. Even at its best, this life is 70 a 80 years for the average person. Frankly, that's not long at all!! We spend our youth trying to acquire wealth and we spend our older years spending our wealth to regain our lost health. We want, so desperately, to arrive at that place where life is finally apprehended! However, just when we get to that place, life slips through our fingers like grains of sand. None of us are immune to aging and dying!! All of us must accept and face that reality. The only thing that lasts forever is God and His Word. Let us not be so foolish as to ignore Him. If we want to apprehend life, we must not refuse Him or His Word!!!
“For you have been born again, but not to a life that will quickly end. Your new life will last forever because it comes from the eternal, living word of God. As the Scriptures say, “People are like grass; their beauty is like a flower in the field. The grass withers and the flower fades. But the word of the Lord remains forever.” And that word is the Good News that was preached to you.”
1 Peter 1:23-25 NLT
The Apostle Peter quoted the Old Testament prophet Isaiah (see Isaiah 40:6-8) in this Scripture. Take the time to go back and read Isaiah 40. What a wonderful declaration of Gods incomparable greatness!!in 1 Peter 1:23-25, Peter reminds us that we were born again to live life eternally and the things of this world are perishing. Only God and His Word are eternal. If we want to live eternally, we must submit ourselves to them! In God's Word we are taught the way of salvation. This salvation is known through the person of the Lord Jesus Christ!!!
I am so glad I know Him! Do you?
God is Eternal
“Lord, through all the generations you have been our home! Before the mountains were born, before you gave birth to the earth and the world, from beginning to end, you are God. You turn people back to dust, saying, “Return to dust, you mortals!” For you, a thousand years are as a passing day, as brief as a few night hours.”
Psalms 90:1-4 NLT
God is eternal!!! He never grows old, weak, or weary. He never slumbers or sleeps (see Psalm 121). He is constantly abiding and is always aware and available!! His Hebrew name for "Eternal One" is "El'Olam". As I heard the late Dr. S.M. Lockridge say: "He always has been is, is is, and always will be is. You can't keep your verb in the proper tense when you are speaking of CHRIST and His eternal nature. To God, time is irrelevant. He supersedes time and time dwells within Him. Time is manifested by Him. He stepped into the realm of time in the human body of Jesus Christ! He precedes all things in His priority!!! He exceeds all things in His Superiority!!! He succeeds all others in His finality!!! He is the origin of all things!!! By Him, all things exist and consist!!! I absolutely love the way the Holy Spirit Speaks to, and through, the Apostle Paul in Colossians: “Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation, for through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see— such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created through him and for him. He existed before anything else, and he holds all creation together. Christ is also the head of the church, which is his body. He is the beginning, supreme over all who rise from the dead. So he is first in everything. For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ, and through him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross. This includes you who were once far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions. Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault. But you must continue to believe this truth and stand firmly in it. Don’t drift away from the assurance you received when you heard the Good News. The Good News has been preached all over the world, and I, Paul, have been appointed as God’s servant to proclaim it.” Colossians 1:15-23 NLT
“But now you have rejected him and cast him off. You are angry with your anointed king. You have renounced your covenant with him; you have thrown his crown in the dust. You have broken down the walls protecting him and ruined every fort defending him. Everyone who comes along has robbed him, and he has become a joke to his neighbors. You have strengthened his enemies and made them all rejoice. You have made his sword useless and refused to help him in battle. You have ended his splendor and overturned his throne. You have made him old before his time and publicly disgraced him. Interlude O Lord, how long will this go on? Will you hide yourself forever? How long will your anger burn like fire? Remember how short my life is, how empty and futile this human existence! No one can live forever; all will die. No one can escape the power of the grave. Interlude Lord, where is your unfailing love? You promised it to David with a faithful pledge. Consider, Lord, how your servants are disgraced! I carry in my heart the insults of so many people. Your enemies have mocked me, O Lord; they mock your anointed king wherever he goes. Praise the Lord forever! Amen and amen!” Psalms 89:38-52 NLT
The psalmist expresses the feeling of being forsaken and forgotten. Notice I said "feeling". We, too, often "feel" like God has forsaken and forgotten us. These moments are always associated with life adversities. In times if difficulty, we don't "feel" happy and we tend to spout our dissatisfaction upon God, as if He caused the problem or could have prevented it. We must always remember that God doesn't change and is never in the wrong. We may feel forsaken and forgotten but we must never allow our feelings to determine our faith. God is there, waiting for us to cast ourselves upon His mercy and grace!!! Do that today!
The Lord's Discipline
“But if his descendants forsake my instructions and fail to obey my regulations, if they do not obey my decrees and fail to keep my commands, then I will punish their sin with the rod, and their disobedience with beating. But I will never stop loving him nor fail to keep my promise to him. No, I will not break my covenant; I will not take back a single word I said. I have sworn an oath to David, and in my holiness I cannot lie: His dynasty will go on forever; his kingdom will endure as the sun. It will be as eternal as the moon, my faithful witness in the sky!”
Psalms 89:30-37 NLT
God makes it clear that He will punish His children for their disobedience. Just because they are His does not mean that they are let off the hook for their sin. To the contrary! Because they are His, they will be corrected. “And have you forgotten the encouraging words God spoke to you as his children? He said, “My child, don’t make light of the Lord’s discipline, and don’t give up when he corrects you. For the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes each one he accepts as his child.” As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as his own children. Who ever heard of a child who is never disciplined by its father? If God doesn’t discipline you as he does all of his children, it means that you are illegitimate and are not really his children at all. Since we respected our earthly fathers who disciplined us, shouldn’t we submit even more to the discipline of the Father of our spirits, and live forever? For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how. But God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in his holiness. No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.”
Hebrews 12:5-11 NLT God will take the board of education and apply it to the seat of learning in order to correct us. He loves us and His love compels Him to discipline us. True love rejoices in truth and righteousness. God's holiness cannot abide unrighteousness. He, because of His nature, responds to our unrighteousness with proper punishment. The punishment is not to hurt us but to help us become more like Him. Yes, the pain is felt in the midst of the spanking, but He wants to keep us from the results of our sin - death and destruction. Just because David was God's anointed king did not grant him immunity when he sinned. The same is true for us!
Son Of David
“Happy are those who hear the joyful call to worship, for they will walk in the light of your presence, Lord. They rejoice all day long in your wonderful reputation. They exult in your righteousness. You are their glorious strength. It pleases you to make us strong. Yes, our protection comes from the Lord, and he, the Holy One of Israel, has given us our king. Long ago you spoke in a vision to your faithful people. You said, “I have raised up a warrior. I have selected him from the common people to be king. I have found my servant David. I have anointed him with my holy oil. I will steady him with my hand; with my powerful arm I will make him strong. His enemies will not defeat him, nor will the wicked overpower him. I will beat down his adversaries before him and destroy those who hate him. My faithfulness and unfailing love will be with him, and by my authority he will grow in power. I will extend his rule over the sea, his dominion over the rivers. And he will call out to me, ‘You are my Father, my God, and the Rock of my salvation.’ I will make him my firstborn son, the mightiest king on earth. I will love him and be kind to him forever; my covenant with him will never end. I will preserve an heir for him; his throne will be as endless as the days of heaven.” Psalms 89:15-29 NLT
This section of the Psalm begins with the declaration that God's blessing is upon those who worship God. He will be their joy, their strength, and they will glory in the character of God, their Father. He will make them strong and bless them with a good king (president, etc). The king was the highest rule in the land. The nation depended upon a godly king. The rest of today's text describes the blessing that God placed upon king David and his descendants. God promised to honor him, make him strong, beat down his enemies, destroy his haters, and extend his rule. God promised that His faithfulness and unfailing love would be with him and His authority would be upon him. David would know a personal relationship with God and he would call Him Father, God, and the Rock of his salvation. His lineage would have the blessing of God upon it and God would prove His absolute faithfulness to the covenant He made with David (see 2 Samuel 7).
Jesus is the "Son of David". This means that he is the Royal descendant that will rule forever. His kingdom will never end. Jesus, humanly speaking, was from the genealogy of David. “All returned to their own ancestral towns to register for this census. And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, David’s ancient home. He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee. He took with him Mary, to whom he was engaged, who was now expecting a child. And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. She gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them.” Luke 2:3-7 NLT
This fulfilled the prophet of Micah 5:2 “But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, are only a small village among all the people of Judah. Yet a ruler of Israel, whose origins are in the distant past, will come from you on my behalf.” Micah 5:2 NLT One very important fact: Jesus wasn't conceived by an earthly father. His Father was God! This distinction is vital and essential to Christian doctrine. Only God could be sinless and only a sinless blood could atone for our sins. Jesus blood was sinless because He had the blood line of His Father. The beauty in the lineage is that God had planned, long ago, to manifest the Savior through David's genealogical line. He did just that!!
Yahweh Is Salvation
“I will sing of the Lord’s unfailing love forever! Young and old will hear of your faithfulness. Your unfailing love will last forever. Your faithfulness is as enduring as the heavens. The Lord said, “I have made a covenant with David, my chosen servant. I have sworn this oath to him: ‘I will establish your descendants as kings forever; they will sit on your throne from now until eternity.’” (Interlude). All heaven will praise your great wonders, Lord; myriads of angels will praise you for your faithfulness. For who in all of heaven can compare with the Lord? What mightiest angel is anything like the Lord? The highest angelic powers stand in awe of God. He is far more awesome than all who surround his throne. O Lord God of Heaven’s Armies! Where is there anyone as mighty as you, O Lord? You are entirely faithful. You rule the oceans. You subdue their storm-tossed waves. You crushed the great sea monster. You scattered your enemies with your mighty arm. The heavens are yours, and the earth is yours; everything in the world is yours—you created it all. You created north and south. Mount Tabor and Mount Hermon praise your name. Powerful is your arm! Strong is your hand! Your right hand is lifted high in glorious strength. Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne. Unfailing love and truth walk before you as attendants.”
Psalms 89:1-14 NLT
Verse 1 of this Psalm uses the words "unfailing love". The KJV uses "mercies". The NASB uses "lovingkindness". The AMP uses "goodness and lovingkindness". We need to understand that the thrust of the psalmists intent was to declare the loving goodness of God! The psalmist is magnifying God for His merciful acts to us. God's faithfulness is the same to all generations!! He never changes. His character is unchanging and we can depend upon Him for all time! God had made a covenant with David the king. This covenant is called the "Davidic Covenant" (see 2 Samuel 7). In it, God established His blessing upon David and his descendants. The throne of Israel would always have God's unfailing attendance. Prophetically, the Davidic Covenant forecasted the coming of the King Himself - Jesus the Messiah! He would be the King who will reign upon the throne of Israel forever. Israel, to this day, has the Star of David upon its flag. One day soon, Jesus will literally sit upon the Throne and rule and reign in the city of New Jerusalem (see Revelation 21 and 22). The whole book of Revelation is about the Sovereignty of Jesus Christ! Revelation reveals His Divinity and Sovereignty! All of creation shouts the name of JESUS! The angelic hosts worship Him! He is Greater than the angels. Some have misunderstood the place of angles. Angels are not equal with Jesus and we don't become one when we die. As children of God, we have angelic assistance (see Psalm 34:7 and Hebrews 1:14). Angels are servants of God that do His bidding and are sent as ministering servant spirits to those who are heirs of salvation. The oceans proclaim His greatness. Their vastness and their majestic waves are testaments to His glory and goodness. The "sea monster" mentioned in this psalm comes from the Hebrew word "Rahab" which means "mythical sea monster". Apparently, then, as today, there are those who believe in mythical creatures who have been ascribed certain powers. The idea that the psalmist is making is that God is greater than any power we can even imagine. The majestic mountains stand as testaments to His mighty power. He is the epitome of strong. His arm is strong. His hand is strong. His "right hand is lifted high" says the text. This is interesting!
In Genesis 48 Jacob placed his right hand upon Ephraim instead of Manasseh. The right hand was the hand of blessing. Jesus is described in the Bible as being at the right hand of God. Jesus is the "right hand of God"!!! He is the blessing of God upon all who bow beneath His loving Lordship! He is the strong right hand of Almighty God!!! “The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit in the place of honor at my right hand until I humble your enemies, making them a footstool under your feet.”” Psalms 110:1 NLT Jesus addressed this in the New Testament. “Jesus responded, “Then why does David, speaking under the inspiration of the Spirit, call the Messiah ‘my Lord’? For David said, ‘The LORD said to my Lord, Sit in the place of honor at my right hand until I humble your enemies beneath your feet.’ Since David called the Messiah ‘my Lord,’ how can the Messiah be his son?” No one could answer him. And after that, no one dared to ask him any more questions.” Matthew 22:43-46 NLT “Jesus said, “ I AM. And you will see the Son of Man seated in the place of power at God’s right hand and coming on the clouds of heaven. ”” Mark 14:62 NLT (see also Mark 16:19; Luke 20:42; 22:69; Acts 2:33-34; 5:31; 7:55-56; Romans 8:34; Ephesians 1:20; Colossians 3:1; Hebrews 1:3 & 13; and 10:12). In Revelation 1:16, 17, 20; 2:1; 5:1, and 7 Jesus is referenced as the one who holds the seven stars in His right hand and the scroll, as well as He who sits on the throne. The name "Jesus" means "Yahweh is salvation" Jesus has a name above every name (see Philippians 2:5-11). There is no other name that can save (see John 14:6 and Acts 4:12). “Though I am surrounded by troubles, you will protect me from the anger of my enemies. You reach out your hand, and the power of your right hand saves me.” Psalms 138:7 NLT Jesus Saves!!! Righteousness and Justice are the foundation of His throne. Unfailing love and truth walk before Him as His attendants!!
Rev. Curtis Norris