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Psalms 16:8

Standing Firm

8 I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.

Although David wrote this passage, it is clear that the Holy Spirit was inspiring him to speak for his descendant, Jesus Christ. In Acts 2:25 Peter quoted the rest of this psalm in his speech, which he gave on the day of Pentecost, and clearly stated that David was speaking about the Christ. Yet, we may assume that David also felt that the words of this verse applied to himself.

To set the LORD always before you, one must focus on Him continuously. In our study of the previous verse, we saw that Jesus frequently prayed all night long and received guidance and counsel from God the Father. Spurgeon, however, points out that Jesus was also the man of many sorrows. He wept over the sinful rebellion of the people in Jerusalem; He knew that many people would suffer eternal condemnation in spite of the fact that He would die for their sins; and He knew what kind of suffering and death He was facing. With all of this on his shoulders, how could he maintain such a perfect inner peace and confidence?

To set the LORD always before His face, Jesus had to walk by faith and not be sight. John Calvin, commenting on this verse, wrote, "To set God before us is nothing else than to keep all our senses bound and captive, that they may not run out and go astray after any other object. We must look to him with other eyes than those of the flesh, for we shall seldom be able to perceive him unless we elevate our minds above the world; and faith prevents us from turning our back upon him." It is necessary for us, therefore, to bring every thought and every imagination into the captivity of Jesus Christ so that we are not tempted to turn away from Him.

When we have God at our right hand, He is there to defend us. We defend ourselves primarily with our right hand. Thus, in Psalms 109:31, “He shall stand at the right hand of the poor, to save him,” and in Psalms 110:5, “The Lord at thy right hand shall strike through kings in the day of his wrath.” In Psalms 121:5, “the Lord is thy Keeper; the Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand.” The LORD certainly was King David's defender on many occasions. He faced Goliath, King Saul, and the tens of thousands of enemies whom he successfully defeated. And, there can also be no doubt that God the Father defended His Son Jesus. Even though He suffered for us, He did it willingly, and His father defended Him from the corruption of the grave and delivered Him from death.

In this and the previous verse we see the formula for faithful Christian living. A reliance on the counsel of God, a strong prayer life, a continuous focus on the face of God instead of on the world, and the trust that He is there to defend you will bring anyone to the point at which they can say, "I shall not be moved!" I will not lose faith; I will never turn my face from looking heavenward; I will not be defeated; and nothing can separate me from the love of Christ!"

By this very formula, Jesus has overcome the world. He has proven that this level of commitment is fully acceptable to God and He begs us to follow Him. The only question is, "Who will listen, who will accept His counsel?" Will it be you?

Before The Throne:

You can begin this prescribed lifestyle of faith by going to the LORD in prayer and surrendering every thought to Him. That will place Him always before you. Ask for His counsel and accept it. Pray for the awareness to know that He will be at your right hand every moment while you work to serve Him and to obey His counsel. Pray that He will blot out the concerns of this world and keep you focused on His will for your life.

For Further Study:

(v.8 )
** I have. Psa 139:18; Acts 2:25-28; Heb 11:27; ** he is. Psa 73:23, 26; 109:31; 110:5; 121:5; ** I shall. Psa 15:5; 62:6;

Psalms 16:7

Bless the Lord!

7 I will bless the LORD, who hath given me counsel: my reins also instruct me in the night seasons.

What did David and Jesus have in common? They were both men and they both worshiped the same God. The Hebrew word, barak, literally means, "to kneel." To bless the LORD is to kneel before Him, to adore Him and to worship Him. Both David and Jesus worshiped on their knees before God, thanking Him for His counsel.

God's counsel is the reason for our worship. It is only by His grace that we can know, understand and receive the truth. His word is truth and the truth sets us free. Jesus praised the Father for revealing the truth to the saints. "At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes." (Matthew 11:25) David was also in the habit of consulting God before he made any important decisions.

Isaiah was also counseled by God as he warned the people to repent of their sins. "For the LORD spake thus to me with a strong hand, and instructed me that I should not walk in the way of this people,.." (Isaiah 8:11 ) It is an absolute necessity for each of us to seek God's counsel and instruction for every major decision that we make. We have a tendency to think that we should follow what seems to be the most logical or prudent course of action, but God's ways are not our ways. It was not logical for Naaman to believe he could be cured of leprosy by dipping himself in the Jordan River seven times. And, what commander would reduce his army from 32,000 men to only 300 men to go into battle with an enemy that far outnumbered them? It seems completely illogical to us, but that is what God told Gideon to do.

The cross makes no sense to the average man. How and why would an all powerful God send His only begotten Son to die such a horrible death to save others from His own wrath? There is no logic in it. As a man, Jesus could not understand it, but God the Father counseled Him. "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;" (Isaiah 11:2)

Jesus never claimed to walk in His own human wisdom. "Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all things that himself doeth: and he will shew him greater works than these, that ye may marvel." (John 5:19-20) No man can do the works of God without the counsel of God, and that counsel must be obtained through prayer.

Therefore, David wrote, "my reins also instruct me in the night seasons." The reins, are the kidneys, which were considered to be the seat of a mans emotions. "...they are often used in Scripture to denote the most secret working of the soul and affections." (John Parkhurst) During the night the world around us is quiet, the usual distractions are gone and we can control where our minds should be focused. It is the perfect time for prayer. Thus, David apparently spent many hours in the evening meditating on the word of God and praying for His guidance. In so doing, he set an example for you and I to follow.

It was also Jesus' habit to spend many hours before His Father in prayer. "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 6:12) It is during these long hours of prayer that our faith is made strong, that our life is pointed in the proper direction, and that our relationship with Christ can grow. If the Son of God felt the need to bow His knees before the Father for so many hours, how much more do we sinners need to do the same? The more we pray and seek God's counsel, the more we will want to bless the Lord.

Before The Throne:

Is your time with God sufficient? Do you not feel that you need more prayer time than Jesus needed? What will you do about it? Take the time right now and ask God to advise you about your prayer habits. Ask Him to help you adjust your schedule to allow for more time with Him. Remember to thank Him for the time that He spends with you. Praise Him for granting you His mercy and for giving you understanding and truth.

For Further Study:

** who hath. Psa 73:24; 119:7; Prov 8:14; Isa 11:2-4; 48:17; 50:4; ** my reins. Psa 73:21; Jer 12:2; 17:10; Rev 2:23; ** in the. Psa 17:3; 22:2; 42:8; 63:6; 77:2, 6; 119:55, 148; Isa 26:9; Luke 6:12;

Psalms 16:6

Your Goodly Heritage

6 The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage.

Our Lord Jesus Christ drank the cup (v.5) of God's wrath for all of us who would believe in Him. God the Father was the portion of His inheritance and His cup. In this passage, David affirms what was said in the previous verse. He gives us a reason and an assurance for the reward that comes from our suffering in Christ.

"The lines are fallen..." This is an allusion to the dividing of the land when Joshua brought Israel into the promised land. The "lines" are measuring lines. A good example of the use of the word is seen in 2 Samuel 8:2, "And he smote Moab, and measured them with a line, casting them down to the ground; even with two lines measured he to put to death, and with one full line to keep alive. And so the Moabites became David's servants, and brought gifts." When Israel came into the Promised land, the inheritance of each tribe was decided by measuring or dividing the land and then casting lots for the portions.

"The lines are fallen..." refers to the lot that is fallen to decide David's inheritance. We can take this as an assurance of our own inheritance, the lines of which are already fallen. They were prepared for us since the foundation of the world, agreed to within the councils of the Godhead, purchased and paid for by the Lord Jesus Christ when He died on the cross at Calvary. We are His people, the sheep of His pastures, and no one can take us out of His hand. Our future and our inheritance is secured in Christ. The lines of our inheritance are fallen!

And, David says, they are fallen "unto me in pleasant places." Which of us would be willing to drink the cup of suffering for an inheritance that was not in a pleasant place? We have something very special to focus on. Jesus said, "In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you." (John 14:2)

In what kind of a place are these mansions? Read about the measuring lines and the pleasant place for yourself in Revelation 21:10-27, "And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal; And had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel: On the east three gates; on the north three gates; on the south three gates; and on the west three gates. And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. And he that talked with me had a golden reed to measure the city, and the gates thereof, and the wall thereof. And the city lieth foursquare, and the length is as large as the breadth: and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs. The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal. And he measured the wall thereof, an hundred and forty and four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of the angel. And the building of the wall of it was of jasper: and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass. And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, a chalcedony; the fourth, an emerald; The fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an amethyst. And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass. And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it. And the gates of it 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."

Would you agree with David that you have a goodly heritage? The lines are drawn, the lot has been cast, your inheritance is secured in a pleasant place and it surely is a goodly heritage. What will you give to get there? Paul said, "Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death." (Philippians 3:8-10)

Paul understood the goodly heritage that was awaiting him in Christ and he was willing to sacrifice everything for it. He considered everything that he lost to be dung next to what he would gain in Christ Jesus. Are you also willing to make the Lord the portion of your inheritance and your cup?

Before The Throne:

Pray about that last question. The lines are fallen. Will you commit yourself to serve Jesus Christ and claim your share? There is nothing else to pray about until you are certain of your inheritance. Anything else would be a waste of time.

For Further Study:

** The lines. Psa 78:55; Amos 7:17; ** in pleasant. Psa 21:1-3; Heb 12:2; ** I have. Jer 3:19; John 20:17; Rom 8:17; 1Cor 3:21-23; Eph 1:18; Phil 2:9-11; 2Tim 2:12; Rev 3:21;

Psalms 16:5

My Inheritance

5 The LORD is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup: thou maintainest my lot.

What will be your inheritance? Some of us are more interested in the property and wealth of our fathers, but those are only temporal things. When we die, we will not take them with us. Those who serve the Lord, however, understand that they have a much greater inheritance, but they must be willing to surrender the things of this world.

When Israel escaped from Egypt, God told the Levites that He was the portion of their inheritance. "And the LORD spake unto Aaron, Thou shalt have no inheritance in their land, neither shalt thou have any part among them: I am thy part and thine inheritance among the children of Israel." (Numbers 18:20) As our High Priest, Jesus might have said these same words that David has written in this psalm.

What does it mean? How is God the portion of our inheritance? Scriptures teach us that we will share in everything that is God's. We will have access to His infinite kingdom, His infinite love, His infinite power, His infinite knowledge, His divine purpose and above all, His divine presence. I find all of this to be too massive and wonderful an inheritance to even contemplate. "But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him." (1 Corinthians 2:9)

However, many Christians do not like to think about the fact that there is also a cup to drink and that God is the portion of our cup. When facing His arrest and subsequent crucifixion, "Then said Jesus unto Peter, Put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?" (John 18:11) The cross was His cup, and He told us to take up our cross and follow Him.

Later, Paul would write to the church at Roman, explaining that we who are in Christ are God's children. "And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together." (Romans 8:17) The condition of our inheritance is that we must be willing to drink from the cup of suffering.

Spurgeon wrote, "The first part of the inheritance is one which flesh and blood would desire to do without—it is the inheritance of suffering." He then breaks the cup of suffering into three categories to each of which Jesus was subjected, affliction, persecution, and temptation. "Would you have your Master's Throne but not His temptation in the wilderness? Then, remember, it cannot be. When you refuse the one, you relinquish all claim to the other. The co-heir is heir to the entire estate. And if he says, 'No, not to that portion,' then he is not heir to any. And if he makes exemption anywhere, he makes exemption to the whole. The joint-heirship reaches from the gloomy patina of deep affliction up to the bright ineffable splendor of the throne of bliss—nor can any man reverse the record. 'If so be that we suffer with Him, we shall also be glorified together.'" (C.H. Spurgeon Sermons - Rom 8,17 #402 - The Joint-Heirs and Their Portion)

"Thou maintainest my lot." Anyone who is willing to drink of the cup of afflictions would understand this point. It is God Himself who keeps our inheritance for us. He guarantees it. In the Hebrew, the word "lot" means, "a portion or destiny (as if determined by lot)." Our destiny is preserved by Him. If we hold that precious thought in our heart and mind while we face the cup of suffering, we will not be moved. Because of His love and mercy, He has prepared our inheritance and our destiny, and nothing can change His plan for us.

Before The Throne:

You may never have to drink of the cup of suffering, if you never take the gospel outside the walls of your church. But, you cannot have your inheritance without picking up the cross. Confess you failures and ask God to help you change the way you have been thinking. Ask Him to give you the faithful zeal necessary to spread the good news. Thank Him and praise Him for preserving your lot, for securing your destiny. Humble yourself and thank Him for His mercy.

For Further Study:

** The Lord. Psa 73:26; 119:57; 142:5; Deut 32:9; Jer 10:16; Lam 3:24; ** of my. Psa 11:6; 23:5; 116:13; Eph 5:18; ** thou. Psa 2:6; 9:4; 21:7-12; 61:6-7; 89:4; 20-37; 110:1-2; 132:11, 17-18; Isa 42:1; 53:12; Acts 2:32; 5:31; 1Cor 15:25;

Psalms 16:4

Forever Pure

4 Their sorrows shall be multiplied that hasten after another god: their drink offerings of blood will I not offer, nor take up their names into my lips.

Sit back sometime and observe all of the troubles that people go through to worship their false gods. Even those who say they do not believe in the existence of any god worship themselves and go through all sorts of troubles to pamper themselves. It makes little difference whether they worship a graven image, a false Christ or prophet, a false god, or some addictive or intoxicating substance, because the result will always be the same. It will multiply their sorrows. Yet, they trouble themselves with endless rituals and tedious demands to serve them.

They "hasten" after their gods, as though they are addicted to them. They cannot resist the allure of them. Take a simple example and watch someone who smokes cigarettes. They will sneak out between Sunday School and worship and go behind the church to get a quick fix. They will become fidgety near the end of the church service and have trouble focusing on the sermon, because they need a smoke. They do not realize that they stink. The smell of smoke is in their clothes, their hair, and their breath. Their habit is expensive, but they would rather spend their money on a pack of smokes than on food for themselves or their families. They might call themselves Christians but they think more about smoking than about God. The habit controls them while at the same time it is destroying their health, a fact that they will not admit. One day they will suffer from cancer, emphysema, heart disease or any number of other illnesses. Their sorrows are multiplied, and so it is with the worship of any false god. (If you are a smoker, please understand that I am not judging you. I also smoked at one time, until the Lord cured me of the practice.)

It was a practice in David's day for idol worshipers to mix the blood of sacrificed animals with wine and then to drink it in their demented services. Perhaps it is why God said, "Moreover ye shall eat no manner of blood, whether it be of fowl or of beast, in any of your dwellings... And whatsoever man there be of the house of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn among you, that eateth any manner of blood; I will even set my face against that soul that eateth blood, and will cut him off from among his people." (Leviticus 7:26; 17:10) It should not surprise us that David would refuse to participate in such libations.

"...nor take up their names into my lips." God's law also forbade the mentioning of the names of false gods. "And in all things that I have said unto you be circumspect: and make no mention of the name of other gods, neither let it be heard out of thy mouth." (Exodus 23:13) Because of man's fallen nature and love for everything ungodly, it is best for us to never think of those evil things. The mention of an idol's name causes the listener to think more about them.

"Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things." (Philippians 4:8) There is a disturbing trend among our young people today, even young Christians, to be heavily involved in various television series catering to the dark side of human nature, featuring vampires, werewolves, zombies and other bloodthirsty themes. This type of entertainment has a very ungodly influence on the mind, no matter how pure a person might consider himself to be. We should keep our thoughts pure at all times.

David also wrote, "I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me." (Psalms 101:3) He understood that what we see, what we hear, and what we think and speak about clings to us. It can do nothing less than dampen our relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ who never had an evil thought. If we are dead to sin and alive in Him, we should also keep ourselves forever pure.

Before The Throne:

The most sinful area of our lives is located in those hidden thoughts that we never express to another living soul. They are the most dangerous of all sins. Confess them before your God and ask to be cleansed of all unrighteousness. What idols are controlling your life? You have no power to defeat them and put them aside, but Jesus has won the victory. Ask Him to help you defeat them and trust Him to do it. Without Him you can do nothing. Thank Him for being available to you and praise Him publicly for being your Savior.

For Further Study:

** Their. Psa 32:10; 97:7; Jonah 2:8; Rev 14:9-11; 18:4-5; ** drink. Gen 35:14; Lev 23:13; Isa 57:6; 65:11; 66:3; Jer 7:18; ** take. Exod 23:13; Josh 23:7; Hos 2:16-17;

Psalms 16:2b-3

The Delight of Christ

2b My goodness extendeth not to thee; 3 But to the saints that are in the earth, and to the excellent, in whom is all my delight.

What could anyone do to benefit God? There is nothing that He needs or cannot get for Himself. Those who "serve Him" extend no kindness to Him but to everyone who hears His gospel preached. "God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; Neither is worshipped with men's hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;" (Acts 17:24-25)

This seems like it would have been the natural meaning of David as he wrote this. John Calvin wrote " is impossible for men, by any merits of their own, to bring God under obligation to them, so as to make him their debtor. The sum of the discourse is, that when we come before God, we must lay aside all presumption. When we imagine that there is any good thing in us, we need not wonder if he reject us, as we thus take away from him a principal part of the honor which is his due. But, on the contrary, if we acknowledge that all the services which we can yield him are in themselves things of nought, and undeserving of any recompense, this humility is as a perfume of a sweet odour, which will procure for them acceptance with God."

The Holman Christian Standard Bible says, "I have nothing good besides You.” Most of the modern translations have something similar to the Holman, but that changes the meaning of the passage, although it does not contain any false or misleading doctrine. Everything that is good does come from God and that is the very reason why the humble psalmist admits that he has nothing to offer Him.

This is a Messianic psalm, and we know that Jesus came to do the will of His Father but we also know that the atoning work that He did was not for God's benefit. It was for the benefit of all those who believed in Christ and in His redeeming sacrifice. "My goodness (kindness) does not extend to you, Father, but to the saints that are in the earth." The only way to serve God is by serving others, especially His saints. "And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." (Matthew 25:40) Jesus has set the example of how to be an humble servant for us to follow.

Although David wrote this, we must keep reminding ourselves that it was not about himself but about the Messiah. David, it is certain, loved the saints, but it is also doubtful that all his delight was in men, whether they were saints or sinners. He wrote in Psalms 37:4 "Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart." And, in Psalms 40:8, he said, "I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart." He also said concerning the man who is blessed, "But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night." (Psalms 1:2) Our delight must be in the Lord and in no other.

On the other hand, it is Jesus Christ who takes delight in His saints. "And I will walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be my people." (Leviticus 26:12) They are the new creation, created unto good works that God has ordained for them. They are the body of Christ, the household of God, the royal priesthood, the temple of the Holy Spirit, and the ambassadors of Christ sent out to proclaim the gospel and to suffer for His sake. The saints are God's treasure and He delights in them.

Before The Throne:

Pray for the ability to live as a representative of Christ. Ask the Lord to help you avoid sin and to act like you are the apple of His eye. Pray for opportunities to serve Him, to be a blessing to His saints, and to proclaim the gospel. He loves you, so make Him your heart's delight. Thank Him for receiving you into the family of God.

For Further Study:

** my goodness. Psa 50:9-10; Job 22:2-3; 35:7-8; Luke 17:10; Rom 11:35;

(v.3) ** But. Gal 6:10; Titus 3:8; Heb 6:10; ** the saints. Psa 30:4; 116:15; 2Chr 6:41; Acts 9:13; Eph 1:1; ** the excellent. Prov 12:26; Song 4:1-7; Mal 3:17; ** in whom. Psa 119:63; Prov 8:31; 13:20; Song 7:10; Isa 62:4; Eph 5:25-27; 1John 3:14-17;

Psalms 16:2a

Thou Art My Lord

2a O my soul, thou hast said unto the LORD, Thou art my Lord:

We hear many public professions of faith being made on Sunday mornings in our worship services, but how many are just superficial, public pronouncements or true spiritual conversions? Here the words "O my soul" do not appear in the Hebrew text, but it is agreed by many scholars that they need to be in our version in order to get a clear understanding of David's meaning. The Holman Christian Standard Bible simply says, "I said to Yahweh, '“You are my Lord;'" Anyone can say those words to appear righteous before men or to feel like they are righteous and accepted by God, but it is a different matter to say it with all your soul.

Jesus was committed to God with all His soul. The second use of the word "Lord" in this passage is from the Hebrew word "Adonay." It means, "Lord or Master," and is only used in the scriptures as a proper name for God. Jesus said that He came to serve the will of His Father and He was obedient unto His death. While He was dying He cried out for His God, "And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" (Mark 15:34) Later, after His resurrection, He spoke to Mary Magdalene, "Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God." (John 20:17) God was the primary ingredient in Jesus' soul, and He submitted to Him as His Adonay.

In Isaiah 26:13, we read, "O LORD our God, other lords beside thee have had dominion over us: but by thee only will we make mention of thy name." In my study on that verse, I wrote, "Isaiah is therefore pressured by his conscience to confess that "...lords beside Thee have had dominion over us." Once again, the meanings of the terms are very significant. Isaiah used the title "adon," which means, "sovereign, master, ruler," and is often given to Yahweh, as our Adoni (see Isaiah 1:24 for example).

"Israel had many other sovereigns, Egypt, the Canaanites, the Assyrians, the Babylonians and, in the future, the Greeks and Romans. However, Isaiah uses the Hebrew word baal to express the concept of dominion. It means, "to marry, rule over, possess, own, and be lord (husband) over." While Israel was certainly the possession of the Egyptians and the Babylonians, the particular use of the word baal in this passage may have been for the purpose of expressing their worship of the false Canaanite gods."

It would not be a bad idea for most of us to make the same confession. How many other things (gods) have had dominion over our lives. We have drawn near to God with our lips, but our hearts are far from Him. We are controlled by the things of the world. They use up our energy, our time, our resources and they occupy all our thoughts. These things are our "adon." We mouth our allegiance to God but not with all our soul.

To be able to surrender to His Lordship with all our soul, we must experience Him in our lives. Jesus had experienced God, having been with Him since eternity past. Old doubting Thomas, however, could not accept the fact that Jesus was risen from the grave until he actually touched His wounds. Then, he believed. "And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God." (John 20:28)

What will it take for you to say with all your soul, "You are my Lord!" Spend your days observing the work that God is doing all around you. Join Him on some of that work and allow yourself to experience Him first hand.

Before The Throne:

Pray that God will reveal Himself to you in a marvelous way that inspires you to pray this short prayer, "Jesus, You are my Lord." Pray it and mean it with all your soul. Confess all the other things that have controlled your life and kept you from serving Him. Ask Him to help you overcome the things of the world.

For Further Study:

** thou hast. Psa 8:1; 27:8; 31:14; 89:26; 91:2; Isa 26:13; 44:5; Zech 13:9; John 20:28;

Psalms 15:5b

On the Rock

5b He that doeth these things shall never be moved."

The things to do that have been listed in this psalm are upright living, righteous works, love for the truth, harnessing of the tongue, treating others as we would be treated, despising evil, keeping one's word, being kind and generous with our money, and refusing bribes. Many of those are categories under which we could list many other good works that the righteous person ought to do.

Jesus said, "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. 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." (Matthew 7:21-25)

The works that must be done are not necessarily the works that we want to do or that we think would be good to do. They must be the works that Jesus and His Father want us to do. Jesus is the Rock upon whom we must build our lives. When we are doing His works, the storms of life can beat against us all they want, but we shall not be moved.

There has been a lot of preaching in recent years about salvation being by faith alone and that is perfectly true. No amount of works can save us, but we must read the rest of the story. Ephesians 2:8-9 says, "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." Most every good Christian knows those verses from memory, but we need to also learn the 10th verse, "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." We are not saved by works but are saved to do good works that God has preordained for us to do.

What kind of faith does one have, if he does not do the works that God has for Him? "But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed." (James 1:22-25) A Christian without works is someone who has walked away from the mirror. He has forgotten that Christ should be seen in his face. Christ is a doer of the word.

James also wrote, "Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone." (James 2:17) Jesus would say to a person with dead faith, "I never knew you!" So, it is by faith alone that we are saved, but true faith will produce good works that God has already prepared for us to do. When we do those good works we will stand on the Rock of our salvation and we shall never be moved. We shall never lose our faith, we shall never cease to do the Lord's work, and we shall never be taken from the hands of God.

Before The Throne:

Get together with God today and evaluate your faith. What kind of works is it producing? Is it a living, thriving, active faith or is it without works and dead? Find out what God has for you to do and get your feet up on the Rock by going to work right away. If your faith is dead, you need to begin to pray for God to have mercy on you and to make you a new creation in Christ.

For Further Study:

(v.5b) ** He that doeth. Psa 16:8; 55:22; 106:3; 112:6; Prov 12:3; Ezek 18:27; Matt 7:21-25; John 13:17; Jas 1:22-25; 2Pet 1:10-11;

Psalms 16:1

A Cry for Help

Michtam of David.

1 Preserve me, O God: for in thee do I put my trust.

This psalm begins with a mystery, for no one knows what the title means. There are many explanations for the word "Michtam," but it is difficult to find any two writers who agree. In order to avoid further complicating the debate, I have accepted the most common and least exotic meaning. Let's call this one simply, "A Writing of David."

Although it is a writing of David, it is also Messianic in nature. It is referred to by Peter at Pentecost in Acts 2:25-36 and by Paul in Acts 13:35-37. Both indicate that the psalm is about the Christ. Charles Spurgeon wrote, "I believe that we have in this verse a prayer of the Lord Jesus Christ. Some portions of this Psalm cannot apply to anyone but the Savior. And we have the examples of Peter and Paul to warrant us in saying that in this Psalm, David spoke of Jesus Christ. There is no apparent division in the Psalm, so that as one part of it refers most distinctly to Christ, we are justified in concluding that the whole of it refers to Him and belongs to Him! But we know that whatever belongs to Christ belongs, also, to all His people because of their vital union with Him, so we shall treat the text, first, as our Savior's own prayer. And then, secondly, we shall regard it also as the prayer of the [followers of the Lamb]." (C. H. Spurgeon; Sermons. No.3280, Christ's Prayer and Plea; theWord Bible Study Software.)

The occasion for this prayer, if it is truly that of Christ. could be, according to Adam Clarke and others, "...on his entering on his great atoning work, particularly his passion in the garden of Gethsemane. In that passion, Jesus Christ most evidently speaks as man; and with the strictest propriety, as it was the manhood, not the Godhead, that was engaged in the suffering."

Albert Barnes defined the word "preserve" as, "Keep me; guard me; save me. This language implies that there was imminent danger of some kind..," and he relies on the verses 8-10 for this interpretation. The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament has many other uses of the word, but places little emphasis on imminent danger, although to guard someone would certainly involve protecting them from such danger. One use of the word, "...has to do with 'preserving' or 'storing up'... anything that is precious."

The name "El" is used for God instead of "Elohim." Elohim is usually used to indicate that God is the sovereign ruler and judge over all things, while the name El literally means, "mighty, strong, the Almighty." The person offering up this prayer is calling upon the Almighty God, the One for whom all things are possible and nothing is impossible. It seems to be the appeal of someone in imminent danger and with nowhere else to turn for help.

Certainly, David was in danger all of his life, as was Jesus, and they were both precious in God's sight. So, this would not tell us what the occasion was that caused either of them to pray in this manner. However, verse 10 does tell us that Jesus had His approaching death in mind, but He came to earth to die for our sins. It was His mission and was always on His mind.

As Spurgeon said, this could also be "the prayer of the followers of the Lamb." Christians are often in imminent danger because of their bold preaching and the hatred of the world for Christ Himself. But, whether facing danger or not, we should all consider ourselves to be dead to this world and fully dependent upon the mercies of God for our preservation. If Jesus, the Son of God, the Word that was with God in the beginning and who was God, felt the need for frequent prayer, how much more should we who claim to follow Him.

The supporting argument behind this prayer is that, "in thee do I put my trust." W.S. Plumer wrote, "In the Hebrew, it is In thee I have trusted, yet implying continued action." (W. S. Plumer, D.D., LL.D.; Psalms, p.210; Banner of Truth Trust, 1990 ed.) In other words, the prayer is offered by someone who has continuously and habitually trusted in the Almighty for all things and now has the right to offer up this prayer, believing that it will be answered. That is the promise made by God to all of His precious people especially those of us under the New Covenant. "And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it." (John 14:13-14)

Before The Throne:

Such a prayer as this must be based on a long record of faithful reliance on the Almighty God. Do you have such a record? Confess your sins and ask the Lord to set aside your failure to trust Him. Consider yourself to be dead to this world, knowing that there is nothing here that can have any eternal meaning. Turn yourself over to the will or God. Trust Him with everything that is in you. Love Him with all of your heart, mind and strength. Then, you will call upon Him and know that He has heard you and answered, even before you see the answer.

For Further Study:

** (Title.) Michtam. Psa 56:1; 60:1; ** Preserve. Psa 17:5,8; 31:23; 37:28; 97:10; 116:6; Prov 2:8; ** for. Ps 9:10; 22:8; 25:20; 84:12; 125:1; 146:5; Isa 26:3-4; Jer 17:7-8; 2Cor 1:9; 2Tim 1:12;

Psalms 15:5a

Financial Oppression

5a He that putteth not out his money to usury, nor taketh reward against the innocent.

We cannot earn our way into God's graces nor can we add by works any more condemnation to our souls than is already heaped upon us by our sinful nature. In answering the question, "Who shall dwell on thy holy hill?" David is not prescribing a series of works designed to win the graces of God. He is instead describing the characteristics that are produced by the faith of those who have already found grace in God's eyes through Jesus Christ.

The Hebrew word for "usury" actually means "to bite; or to lend for interest" The law of Moses prohibited the lending of money or anything else for interest. "And if thy brother be waxen poor, and fallen in decay with thee; then thou shalt relieve him: yea, though he be a stranger, or a sojourner; that he may live with thee. Take thou no usury of him, or increase: but fear thy God; that thy brother may live with thee." (Le 25:35-36) There is no easier way to oppress the poor, to control a nation, and to gather unearned wealth than through lending with interest.

Consider what happened to the nation in Nehemiah's day. "And there was a great cry of the people and of their wives against their brethren the Jews. For there were that said, We, our sons, and our daughters, are many: therefore we take up corn for them, that we may eat, and live. Some also there were that said, We have mortgaged our lands, vineyards, and houses, that we might buy corn, because of the dearth. There were also that said, We have borrowed money for the king's tribute, and that upon our lands and vineyards. Yet now our flesh is as the flesh of our brethren, our children as their children: and, lo, we bring into bondage our sons and our daughters to be servants, and some of our daughters are brought unto bondage already: neither is it in our power to redeem them; for other men have our lands and vineyards. And I was very angry when I heard their cry and these words." (Nehemiah 5:1-6)

As our own nation experiences similar difficulty, we should be able to understand the evils of lending with interest. After the massive numbers of foreclosures on home mortgages, many Americans can say, "Other men have our homes." People can work for thirty years to pay off the interest on a mortgage, which can amount to three times the amount that was loaned out. The practice also inflates the value of property, making it more difficult for the poor to afford a home.

Furthermore, the largest expense that our government has is the repayment of loans with interest. Bankers have managed to take control of the nation with this evil form of business, and it is the poor who are being oppressed and taxed to repay it.

Most of the Old Testament passages that condemn usury seem to apply only to loans made to the poor or to the people of Israel. Loans to foreigners are not prohibited and it would appear that business loans, those in which the borrower is not impoverished but is going to use the money for his own profit, are permitted. It would be fair for the lender ,who is assuming much of the risk for the business, to expect a share of the profit.

Jesus gave us further instructions on lending. "But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil." (Luke 6:35) While ministering in extremely poor neighborhoods, I have had to rely on this rule very often. People who would normally have nothing to do with me and who even avoid me, will come and ask to borrow money. They always promise to pay me back when their check comes, but they never do. Therefore, I have learned to only loan what I can afford to give. I tell the person that they do not have to repay the money. As Jesus said, I "lend, hoping for nothing again." This prevents me from being angry when I do not get repaid and is more of a help to the "borrower."

The second part of our passage needs little explanation. The man who will live on God's holy hill "taketh reward against the innocent." This refers to the practice of taking bribes, especially but not exclusively by judges or others in authority. The injustice of bribery should be clearly understood by everyone, and I will not attempt to elaborate any further.

Before The Throne:

How do you treat the poor? It is probable that you have not been profiting by the charging of interest. Nevertheless, pray about how you are responding to the needs of the poor. Should you give more? Should you be outspoken against those institutions whose lending practices are oppressing the poor? Perhaps God wants you to learn more about our monetary system. The capitalist system can be misused and become just as oppressive as a socialist government. Ask God whether this is something in which you should become more knowledgeable and actively involved.

For Further Study:

** putteth. Exod 22:25; Lev 25:35-37; Deut 23:19-20; Neh 5:2-5, 7-13; Ezek 18:8, 17; 22:12; ** nor taketh. Exod 23:7-8; Deut 16:19; Isa 33:15; Mic 7:3; Matt 26:15; 27:3-5;

Psalms 1:4

Have Some Integrity

4 In whose eyes a vile person is contemned; but he honoureth them that fear the LORD. He that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not.

In this verse, David continued to answer the question, "LORD, who shall abide in thy tabernacle?" The wording in this answer can, however, be easily misunderstood. Other versions do not make the meaning any more clear, saying, "In whose eyes a reprobate is despised." (MKJV) A literal understanding of the various English translations would be in conflict with Jesus' command to love everyone, even our enemies. He never despised anyone nor looked on them with contempt.

The Hebrew word, according to Strong's Concordance, means "to disesteem." We should not esteem those who are reprobate, who are vile and opposers of God and His laws. We can again use the political situation in the United States as an example of how wicked people are honored with the highest esteem. No person who would advocate the murder of unborn or partially born infants should be honored with the power to make or administer the laws of our nation. Yet, over half of our elected officials support this type of murder and, according to God's word, not mine, should be considered to be vile individuals. We should not despise or hate them, but we should despise the evils that they support and we certainly should not grant them the esteem that comes with a political office. Unfortunately, even many of our churches are willing to support and esteem ungodly men in the political arena.

The man who honors those who fear the Lord is the person who will abide in the tabernacle of Yahweh. In this world, God fearing men will not be honored by the general public. Likewise, those who esteem godly men will not receive any accolades from their peers. It is often difficult to stand against the majority of our friends and family to support a Christian candidate, a Christian actor, a Christian athlete etc. But, that is what the true Christian will do.

"He that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not." He will also abide under God's tent. God's man or woman must be someone of great integrity, someone whose word is as good as gold. However, Jesus told us not to swear. There is a reason for His warning. Consider the case of Jephthah. "And Jephthah vowed a vow unto the LORD, and said, If thou shalt without fail deliver the children of Ammon into mine hands, Then it shall be, that whatsoever cometh forth of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return in peace from the children of Ammon, shall surely be the LORD'S, and I will offer it up for a burnt offering." (Judges 11:30-31 ) What a foolish vow for anyone to make, as Jephthah would soon learn.

"And Jephthah came to Mizpeh unto his house, and, behold, his daughter came out to meet him with timbrels and with dances: and she was his only child; beside her he had neither son nor daughter. And it came to pass, when he saw her, that he rent his clothes, and said, Alas, my daughter! thou hast brought me very low, and thou art one of them that trouble me: for I have opened my mouth unto the LORD, and I cannot go back." (Judges 11:34-35) Jephthah was such a man of his word that he could not go back on his vow to the Lord. "And it came to pass at the end of two months, that she returned unto her father, who did with her according to his vow which he had vowed." (Judges 11:39)

Jephthah swore to his own hurt as the psalm says but he did not change his mind. He kept his word. However, Jesus said we should not swear at all. "But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil." (Matthew 5:37) In my study on that passage, I wrote, "Jesus taught that we should simply say, 'Yes' or 'No', and that anything more than that is evil. Anything more than that implies that we have some power over the future. We are in fact setting ourselves in God's place, denying that we are His possessions, and promising to perform on our oaths in spite of His will. Anything more than a simple 'Yes' or 'No' is evil, because it comes from a vain heart."

David's intent in this verse is to impress upon us the importance of integrity. If we claim to be God's people, we must honor Him by our actions. We should not esteem those persons or things whom He has rejected, we should honor His servants above all others, and we should represent Him well by keeping our word.

Before The Throne:

Pray about the people whom you do or do not respect. How would God have you deal with them? What kind of a relationship should you have with them? Ask God to enable you to love even the vilest of people without falling into the trap of supporting what they do. Ask Him to help you take every word you speak more seriously, to perform on your promises, and to honor Him with your integrity.

For Further Study:

** a vile. Psa 101:4; 2Kgs 3:13-14; Esth 3:2; Job 32:21-22; Isa 32:5-6; Dan 5:17-31; Acts 24:2-3, 25; Jas 2:1-9; ** but. Psa 16:3; 101:6; 119:63; Matt 12:49-50; 1John 3:14; ** sweareth. Josh 9:18-20; Judg 11:35; 2Sam 21:1-2; Matt 5:33;

Psalms 15:3

Tongue Control

3 He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbour, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbour.

Politicians tell us that character is not an important gauge for those who would ascend to Capitol Hill and govern our nation. As a result, there is nothing but chaos in Washington. Backbiting, evil manipulations, theft and public disgrace have become the norm rather than the exception. Politicians spend more time defending themselves against the accusations and lies of their opponents than they spend reading and studying the repressive effects of the laws for which they vote. Capitol Hill is an excellent example of what God's holy hill is not.

Who will dwell in God's holy hill? Men who walk uprightly, only men who are of a strong character and can control their tongues will live there. No one who is in the business of backbiting with his tongue will be found in God's house. The jaws of a shark are not as dangerous or as vicious as the tongue of one sinner who enjoys telling damaging stories about his neighbors. It does not matter whether the stories are true or false, if they harm the person's reputation. Like the shark the backbiter is not seen by his victim until it is too late. Words once spoken can never be taken back. They pass from one person to another as quickly as a forest fire during a drought. No one knows where they have been, who has believed them, or where they will stop.

"Thy tongue deviseth mischiefs; like a sharp razor, working deceitfully. Thou lovest evil more than good; and lying rather than to speak righteousness. Selah. Thou lovest all devouring words, O thou deceitful tongue. God shall likewise destroy thee for ever, he shall take thee away, and pluck thee out of thy dwelling place, and root thee out of the land of the living. Selah." (Psalms 52:2-5 ) God will root these people out of the land of the living. They will not enter into eternal life with His people.

"Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law." (Romans 13:10) God's law is not upheld when men treat each other with evil intent. Backbiting is evil, but so are many other actions in which sinners are engaged. When the lusts of our flesh, like pride, greed, selfishness, etc., are allowed to get out of control, we forget about the rights of others and think only of ourselves. Then, our wicked thoughts are transformed into evil deeds.

Perhaps the greatest struggle that people will face in their lives is that of restraining themselves when they have been the recipients of vicious and evil attacks by others. "Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men." (Romans 12:17) The man who walks uprightly will have sufficient faith in God to allow Him to be his avenger. The man of character will love his enemies and pray for them. He might not survive on Capitol Hill but he will be happy and blessed on the holy hill.

Perhaps the third phrase in our verse is the most damning, because we all fall into its trap. "...nor taketh up (Hebrew: accepts or endures) a reproach against his neighbor." This saying should strike us with the utmost concern. How often have every one of us listened to backbiting, gossip, and vicious attacks on our neighbors without voicing our objections or without walking away. We listen, we believe and then we share with others, thinking that, if it is true, there is nothing wrong with repeating it. Most of the time we do not even try to verify its veracity. If we truly love our neighbor, why do we endure those attacks on his or her reputation?

"Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets." (Matthew 7:12) Would you not want your friends to stand up for you against those backbiters? Would you want them to accept the lies that are told about you and spread them to others? Then, why do you not do the same for them?

It is time for each of us to shed the Capitol Hill mindset and begin to make the climb toward the Holy Hill where our Savior has prepared a place for us.

Before The Throne:

Confess the faults of your own tongue. Ask the Lord to give you the ability to discern the difference between earnest conversation and backbiting, evil attacks. Ask Him to give you the courage to take a stand against those who do not control their tongues. Pray that you will never allow your ears to be an audience for anyone who speaks evil of another. Ask to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ who loved even His enemies.

For Further Study:

** backbiteth. Psa 101:5-8; Exod 23:1-33; Lev 19:16; Jer 9:4-9; Rom 1:30; Titus 3:2; Jas 4:11; 1Pet 2:1-2; ** doeth. 1Sam 24:11; Isa 56:2; Matt 7:12; Rom 12:17; 13:10; 3John 1:11; ** taketh up. Prov 22:10; 25:3;

Psalms 15:2

Walking Uprightly

2 He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart.

The question was asked of God, "Who shall dwell in Thy holy hill?" The first part of that answer is that those who show themselves by outward works will ascend to be with God, but that is not the only qualification. Those who walk uprightly represent believers whose faith is more than mere words. They do not bend to the pressures of the heathen among whom they are forced to live.

"...he keeps himself erect as those do who traverse high ropes; if they lean on one side over they must go, or as those who carry precious but fragile ware in baskets on their heads, who lose all if they lose their perpendicular. True believers do not cringe as flatterers, wriggle as serpents, bend double as earth grubbers, or crook on one side as those who have sinister aims; they have the strong backbone of the vital principle of grace within, and being themselves upright, they are able to walk uprightly. Walking is of far more importance than talking. He only is right who is upright in walk and downright in honesty. (C.H. Spurgeon; The Treasury of David; theWord Bible Study Software)

"...and worketh righteousness." That is to say that he does the works that God has preordained for him to do. Jesus said, "Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them." (Matthew 7:16-20)

There have always be those within the church who talk the talk but neither walk the walk nor do the works of righteousness. The Apostle Paul said, "...they are not all Israel, which are of Israel." (Romans 9:6) It takes more than a genetic relationship with the people of God and more than a simple profession of faith to get us into God's tabernacle. So, we find the tares growing among the wheat, the hypocrites among the faithful. "They profess that they know God; but in works they deny [him], being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate." (Titus 1:16)

"I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing." (John 15:5) Jesus is the key to entering God's holy hill. He is the vine upon which we must depend for our spiritual sustenance. He is the power by which we must accomplish the works of righteousness and produce good fruit. He is the Tabernacle in whom we must dwell on that holy hill.

Beyond the visible works that can be seen by others there is a deeper quality in God's people. The righteous man "...speaketh the truth in his heart," not just superficially. "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." (John 8:32) This is radically different from the fool in Psalms 14 who says in his heart that there is no God. He is not free, but is constantly plagued by an unexplained fear. He is the captive of his sins. The righteous man, however, speaks the truth in his heart, that there is a God and that He is Sovereign over all things.

It is absolutely essential to hold this truth in our hearts, if we want to ascend that holy hill. Jesus said, "But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth." (John 4:23-24)

Only those who speak the truth in their hearts are capable of worshiping the Lord and this should be our principle occupation on earth and certainly will be our priority in heaven. God is seeking people who worship Him in Spirit and truth. Will you be chosen to ascend the hill and enter into the heavenly kingdom?

Before The Throne:

Examine your own heart. Is your life centered around the truth? Are you living on the the vine called Christ? Are you producing spiritual fruit? These are things that we must all pray about daily. A mere profession of faith will not get you up the hill; only a real change in your heart that is demonstrated through your works is acceptable to God.

For Further Study:

** He. Psa 84:11; Prov 2:7-8; 28:18; Isa 33:15; Mic 2:7; Luke 1:6; Gal 2:14; 1John 2:6; ** worketh. Acts 10:35; Rom 2:10; Eph 2:10; Heb 11:33; 1John 2:29; 3:7; Rev 22:14-15; ** speaketh. Psa 34:12-13; Isa 63:8; Zech 8:16-17; Eph 4:25; Col 3:9; Rev 21:8;

Psalms 15:1

The Big Question

A Psalm of David.

1 LORD, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill?

David asked Yahweh a question in this first verse and then used the rest of the psalm to answer it. It is a question that needs to be asked by everyone today, because there seems to be an assumption that everyone will be welcomed into the tabernacle of God, and that is a very dangerous thought to have. I have even heard Christians speak about those who have died, without ever having shown any signs of godliness, as though they were in heaven today. Perhaps that is just wishful thinking or it may be that, by thinking an unrepentant sinner can make it into heaven, I certainly will too.

We should be more cautious about our assumptions. Jesus said, "Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity." (Matthew 7:22-23) LORD, then who shall abide in thy tabernacle?

First, let me confirm that the tabernacle being spoken of is that tabernacle that is not made with hands. It is described as God's "holy hill." It must be something very special. The prophet Isaiah wrote, "Look upon Zion, the city of our solemnities: thine eyes shall see Jerusalem a quiet habitation, a tabernacle that shall not be taken down; not one of the stakes thereof shall ever be removed, neither shall any of the cords thereof be broken. But there the glorious LORD will be unto us a place of broad rivers and streams; wherein shall go no galley with oars, neither shall gallant ship pass thereby." (Isaiah 33:20-21)

Isaiah teaches us that the tabernacle of Yahweh is one that cannot be taken down and will not be moved like the one that was used during Israel's 40 year wilderness experience. The cords that fasten it will never be broken. The tabernacle will be in Yahweh! Isaiah says that Yahweh will be a place unto us. As we study the symbolism of the Old Testament and apply the knowledge that everything about the tabernacle and its fixtures represents our Lord Jesus Christ, we will come to understand that the Tabernacle spoken of by both David and Isaiah is Jesus. And in that place are the rivers of living waters.

The holy hill upon which the tabernacle sits is God Himself. Only God is holy, and Jesus Christ is the only man who was ever holy. We are told to be holy as He is holy. How can we do that except we are able to enter into Christ? As part of His body, the church, we become acceptable unto God; our sins are washed away by His blood. We are made holy by Christ and we become the temple of the Holy Spirit. Through Christ alone, we are able to abide in that Holy Place.

"And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God." (Revelation 21:3) Yet the question remains to be asked, "Who are those people?" Who can enter in and abide in the tabernacle of God?

Before The Throne:

Pray about your relationship with Christ. Are you expecting to live life according to what is right in your own eyes and then enter the Tabernacle on the holy hill when you die? Is that the way you understand scripture? Ask God to show you your faults, those areas of life where you are falling short of His glory. Pray that, when the day comes to stand before the judgment seat, He will find you acceptable through your relationship with Jesus Christ and welcome you to His wonderful kingdom.

For Further Study:

** Lord. Psa 1:1-4; 23:6; 21:3-5; 27:4; 61:4; 84:4; 92:13; John 3:3-5; 14:3; 17:24; Rev 7:14-17; 21:3-4, 23-24; ** holy. Psa 2:6; 3:4; 43:3-4; 87:1-3; Heb 12:22; Rev 14:1;

Psalms 14:7

He Is Coming!

7 Oh that the salvation of Israel were come out of Zion! when the LORD bringeth back the captivity of his people, Jacob shall rejoice, and Israel shall be glad.

In a world where the name of God receives very little respect. a world full of foolish and depraved people, the few godly believers will often feel as though there is no escape from the persecution of which the psalmist complained in the previous verses. There were many instances in the life of David and in the history of Israel when they must have longed for God's intervention and cried out with words similar to those in this verse.

The Hebrew literally is, “Who will give out of Zion salvation to Israel?” Zion is the mountain upon which Jerusalem was built. It was used as another name for Jerusalem and was often used to denote the place where God lived among His people. David most likely wrote this after he brought the ark of the covenant into the city. The name of Zion is also used to refer to the people of God, the church.

While Israel is the nation that came from the loins of Jacob, the name is also used to refer to the church. Paul affirmed in the New Testament that all of God's people will be saved. "And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:" (Romans 11:26)

Whatever the occasion was that inspired David to write this verse, it is clear that he longed for his Deliverer to come to the rescue of his people. The second part of the verse provides no additional clues as to the date. There are some who have speculated that this must have been added by someone after the captivity in Babylon, but that assumption is not necessary. Others have said that David may have prophesied about the coming captivity.

"But (1) it is very probable that the phrase rendered bring back the captivity means rather restore the fortunes. This meaning suits all the passages in which it occurs, while turn the captivity does not, except in the figurative sense of restoring prosperity. See e.g. Job 42:10; Eze 16:53; Zep 2:7. And (2) even if turn the captivity is the true meaning, the phrase is used by Amos (Amo 9:14) and Hosea (Hos 6:11) long before the Babylonish Captivity." (The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges; theWord Bible Study Software.)

Applying this verse to our present situation, we might cry out for the return of our Lord Jesus to come and set us free from the captivity of this depraved world. The time is coming fast when the church will see a persecution the likes of which are unimagined. Christ haters such as the Muslims are becoming more numerous, politically and militarily stronger, and dangerously more violent. Like Herodias desired the head of John the Baptist, they would have the heads of every Christian who refuses to deny His Lord.

Then, words like those of Charles H. Spurgeon might fall from the lips of every praying Christian. "O that these weary years would have an end! Why tarries he so long? He knows that sin abounds and that his people are down trodden; why comes he not to the rescue? His glorious advent will restore his ancient people from literal captivity, and his SPIRITUAL seed from spiritual sorrow. Wrestling Jacob and prevailing Israel shall alike rejoice before him when he is revealed as their salvation. O that he were come!" (Charles H. Spurgeon; The Treasury of David; theWord Bible Study Software.)

When He comes Jacob shall rejoice and Israel shall be glad! The Apostle John was allowed to see how it will end. "And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years." (Revelation 20:4) What a celebration that will be! Oh how our God will be praised!

Let us never forget or doubt that the King is coming!

Before The Throne:

Pray for the vision that David and many other godly people have had... that your Redeemer is coming. Ask the Lord to help you keep your life focused on that joyous day when you will meet Him and all the church will be gathered to sing His praises. Pray for the Spirit's guidance to help you live by your faith and not by sight. Ask God to help you encourage fellow believers when they are feeling the pressures of living in a lost world.

For Further Study:

** Oh. Psa 53:6; ** captivity. Job 42:10; Eze 16:53; Zep 2:7; Amo 9:14; Hos 6:11;