Sunday, December 31, 2006

Gone for the week

Marcia and I are taking a week-long trip (this will be the first trip of the year, and we have many more trips to take this next year). I certainly ask that you would pray for safety.


Thursday, December 28, 2006

Thy Name (part1) - Jehovah

Text: Exodus 3:13-15

13 And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them? 14 And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you. 15 And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name forever, and this is my memorial unto all generations.”

This is the most frequent and most personal name for God in all the Old Testament and it is seen in our English translation as LORD (having each letter capitalized). The Jews had such a reverence of God and even fear of ever taking God’s name in vain that they would rather say adonai in place of Jehovah. And so our faithful translators distinguished Jehovah and adonai with the corresponding translation “LORD” for Jehovah, and “Lord” for Adonai.

The name Jehovah denotes His existence. It stems from the root word (היה) hâyâh (translated “I am”) which means “to exist” or “to be.” The significance of His name “I AM” is simply that God exists. As simple as that may sound, think of the number of people that live as though there is no God. Of course there are those who are atheists, and so they really believe that there is no such being as God. The Bible in contrast affirms or declares this truth rather pointedly: “In the beginning God…” (Gen. 1:1a). The Bible has never been wrong, especially in regards to its prophecies. Therefore to deny God’s existence is futile. However true that may be, living as though there is no God is just as futile. Many want God’s blessing but not God Himself. And how ridiculous, and arrogant it is to ignore such a God, when, in fact, He does exist.

Another significant point to consider is that His name “I AM THAT I AM” means that nothing created God; that all His power and attributes He owes solely to Himself. Nothing outside of God formed or made God. The Psalmist declares “That men may know that thou, whose name alone is Jehovah:” (83:18). This means that there is nothing or no one greater than God. He existed eternally. Nothing existed outside of God. God in all His fullness and beauty was present with Him in His eternality (see also Isa. 26:4). Therefore true holiness, beauty, power, and virtue rest solely on God. That means, to quote the Apostle Paul, “…in me, that is in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing.” That means anything in this fallen world that captures our eye gate as being beautiful, and what is commonly be attributed to nature is so, only because of nature’s God, or as we know Him as the great “I AM.” beauty is rooted in God, and not left to the subjective eye of the beholder. Beauty is what God is, it is what He says, it is what God wants, and not what defiles man and offends Him.

His name also denotes immutability. God is immutable. He does not change. Malachi 3:6 says “For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.” God does not cope, and nothing catches Him by surprise. He is infinitely more than we could ever imagine Him to be. God is unchangeable because He is perfect.

Praise God for the revelation of His name “Jehovah,” and what a comfort it is to know that God is the one true and living God, who exists, and existed in eternity, who will never change, and yet He reaches down to man, desiring to lift him up to Himself.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

"Thy Name" - Introduction

Psalm 5:11 “But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them: let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee.”

The phrase ‘thy name’ is repeated 47 times in the book of Psalms. In 5:11(above) we see that those who love God’s name are joyful in the Lord. In God we find true joy and security. His name reveals to us who God is and what He is like.

Here are a few other “thy name” Scripture verses to consider:

Psalm 8:1 “O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens.”

Strong points this out for the definition of excellent –

From H142; wide or (generally) large; figuratively powerful: - excellent, famous, gallant, glorious, goodly, lordly, mighty (-ier, one), noble, principal, worthy.

The idea here in 8:1 is that God’s name is excellent or great. And it is so because God is excellent and great. God is glorious, God is mighty, and His name reflects His character.

Psalm 9:2 “I will be glad and rejoice in thee: I will sing praise to thy name, O thou most High.”

Psalm 9:10 “And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.”

Psalm 22:22 “I will declare thy name unto my brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee.”

Psalm 44:5 “Through thee will we push down our enemies: through thy name will we tread them under that rise up against us.”

Psalm 61:5 “For thou, O God, hast heard my vows: thou hast given me the heritage of those that fear thy name.”

There are many more references about God’s name not only in Psalms but in other books of the Bible as well.

Nehemiah 1:11 “O Lord, I beseech thee, let now thine ear be attentive to the prayer of thy servant, and to the prayer of thy servants, who desire to fear thy name: and prosper, I pray thee, thy servant this day, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man. For I was the king’s cupbearer.”

Isaiah 25:1 “O LORD, thou art my God; I will exalt thee, I will praise thy name; for thou hast done wonderful things; thy counsels of old are faithfulness and truth.”

The Bible teaches us all of what we could know about God. We didn’t and couldn’t learn about God on our own in fact, God reveals Himself to us through His Word. The majesty of God’s name has been a blessing to me in my studies. I would like to share this with you and I pray that God would richly bless you as we look into learning more about God through His declared names in the Bible.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas!

"And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it." (Isa. 40:5)

Getting together with family and friends is certainly one of the many blessings of the season. Don't forget to celebrate the Christ in Christmas.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Some thoughts on Christmas -
The Wise Men

Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,”
(Matthew 2:1)

We do not know much about these wise men. From their name ‘wise men’ we know that these were men of learning, maybe even scientists. Obviously we know that they were from ‘the east’ because that is where they claimed to have seen ‘his star.’ They must know something about astronomy and the Scriptures (Num. 24:17; Isa. 60:3; Daniel 9; Micah 5:2). Since they presented three gifts we assume that there were three of them, but the Bible does not say how many wise men there were exactly. They must have been very important since they got an audience with King Herod. They were interested in one thing, i.e. to worship Jesus Christ, who was the then born King of the Jews. Barnes (a commentator) does not ascribe anything special to their worship of the child, rather it was simply an acknowledging of Jesus to be a ruler. There was not anything more in particular there but to treat Him with social respect and reverence.

With that in mind it was the desire to worship which motivated them to journey afar through some rough and dangerous lands. It was enough for them to have seen “A Star out of Jacob,” and they were ready to pack up, leave their prominent (and I’m sure comfortable) place, and embark on a journey that would take them to Jerusalem.

Today, we have been given a better ‘sign.’ We have God’s Word complete and sufficient in the Bible. In it we find the reason we celebrate Christmas. We don’t need to know ‘astronomy’ in order to worship the Lord Jesus Christ. What we need is some good old fashioned OBEDIENCE. Does our worship of Jesus Christ encourage us to obey His Word? Obviously these wise men understood and applied the Hebrew Scriptures in order to find time to worship Christ. Do we take time to read, understand, study, and apply the Bible? And if we are obedient to the Scriptures, would it not then point us towards Christ? Every Sunday, we have an opportunity to do as these wise men did, and journey from our homes to worship Christ the Lord, in church. What a great privilege we have.

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Some thoughts on Thanksgiving - conclusion

1 Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands. 2 Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing. 3 Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. 4 Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. 5 For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.”
(Psalm 100:1-5)
“Know ye that the LORD He is God.” Think about the practical ramifications of this verse. If God is God (and He is) then any man who disregards Him or disobeys Him would be a complete fool. And yet, there are times when with sin, we forget, and we become atheistic in both doctrine and practice. And so it is important to learn and learn to re-learn that The LORD is God. Rebellion therefore, is foolish. One other significant thought in this passage is that the LORD is good. Bad circumstances at times can make God look bad. But only a backslider would dare think God to be anything else but good. I heard a wise saying from an evangelist friend who said: “God is always good, and God is always in control.” That statement may seem too obvious, but if you think about the goodness of God, His everlasting mercy and enduring truth, it really is a profound statement. Thank God for who He is.

Friday, December 1, 2006

Some thoughts on Thanksgiving (part 10)

"1 Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands. 2 Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing. 3 Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. 4 Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. 5 For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations." (Psalm 100:1-5)

This verse helps remind me about the attitudes that are pleasing to God when going to Him in prayer. We approach God with thanksgiving and praise. We may choose to pray supplications and intercessions, it even may and should include confessions, but our basic approach must always be seasoned with thanksgiving and praise. Thank God for the privilege of prayer!