Watching Daily At Wisdom's Gates

A Yorkshireman's take on life, death, and eternity

Month: October, 2015

Your steadfast love is good

“But you, oh God my Lord, deal on my behalf for your name’s sake; because your steadfast love is good, deliver me!”
Psalm 109:21

On what basis do you seek to deal with God? On your own, according to your own deeds? As someone who can face God on your own terms? Or on the basis of his unchanging character of love and deliverance?

The Psalmist had it right. David was facing murderous opposition, but he knew where to turn in his distress, and who to turn to. He wrote this Psalm as a complaint to the Lord at the injustices he was suffering, and as a cry for mercy and deliverance.

Where do we turn in times of trouble? Family, friends and wealth will all let us down, but the faithful Lord never will. Trust in his name, rest in his love, and seek his deliverance.

“Oh Lord my God, help me in my troubles to know your steadfast love and deliverance. Give me justice against my enemies. For your name’s sake I pray, amen”

the Lord of hosts has blessed

“The Lord of hosts has blessed, saying, “Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel my inheritance””
Isaiah 19:25 ESV

The common Israelite view was that they had the monopoly on worship of the one true God. Israel’s arch enemies Egypt and Assyria had a plethora of false gods. But Isaiah shockingly looks forward to the day they would all worship together.

When Jonah went to Ninevah, the capital of Assyria, they repented at the word of the Lord. And in Jeremiah’s day a number of Jews fled to Egypt and settled there. Even today there are the Assyrian and Coptic (Egyptian) churches, although they are under severe persecution. There are even Jewish believers in the Christ.

Numbers are so small however that we must conclude that this verse has an end times/escatological view in mind, when the gospel bears much fruit in Assyria, Israel and Egypt and the new believers worship together in spirit and truth.

With the grip of Islam this seems hard to envisage, but our God is the Lord of hosts, the God of the angel armies. If one angel can destroy an army, think what a legion of angels can do at the Lord’s bidding!

“Lord of hosts, thank you that nothing can prevent your promises being fulfilled. We look forward to the day when Egyptians, Assyrians/Iraqis and Israelis will worship you together in spirit, truth and peace. In Jesus’ name, amen”

Consider the love of the Lord

Whoever is wise, let him attend to these things; let them consider the steadfast love of the Lord.
Psalm 107:43 (I use the ESV)

Yesterday we heard wisdom’s call to wait at her gates. Today we get a glimpse of what wisdom might bring through the gates for us, namely a consideration of God’s providential, steadfast love.

This Psalm paints a picture of God’s dealings with his people in their distress, in desert wastes, in the darkness of prison, suffering for foolish and sinful ways and in the midst of the ocean.

He leads his people out of hard situations, he delivers prisoners, he heals foolish backsliders and he calms the seas for those in peril. This Psalm makes me think of some of my Eritrean brethren who have been through much of what I have described and can testify to the steadfast love of the Lord for them throughout it all.

But this Psalm isn’t just for persecuted believers, or even for Israel, but for all the redeemed of the Lord by the blood of Jesus. Every one of us would be wise to trace God’s steadfast love of us throughout our earthly pilgrimage. And those who are strangers to God’s grace would be wise to consider his love in giving hope to people in the hardest of life circumstances: a love that would encompass you as well if you would turn to him in faith.

“Lord God, let me be wise and attend to these things, let me consider your steadfast love. Then I will be filled with thanksgiving and praise to you, my great redeemer. In Jesus’ name, amen

Watching at Wisdom’s Gates.

Proverbs 8:34 personifies wisdom as saying, “Blessed is the one who listens to me, watching daily at my gates, waiting beside my doors.”
ESV

In my Bible study on this passage with my pastor, he jokily suggested that I set up a ministry called “Watching at Wisdom’s Gates” in which I exhort listeners to daily watch at wisdom’s gates and wait at wisdom’s doors as they open up God’s word.

Well I have done daily devotionals before so I thought I’d have another go at them, starting today with an encouragement from this passage to have a daily quiet time reading the Bible and praying. The rest of my devotionals will be taken from my own devotions in old and new testaments and Psalms.

So enjoy the wisdom of God’s word with me, and remember to daily open up wisdom’s gates which are the books of the Bible!

Singleness

I’ve been thinking some more about Jesus’ teaching about eunuchs, people with the gift of singleness. We live in a highly sexualised age, where to be single is seen to be on the market to being in a relationship rather than a legitimate lifestyle choice. This insistence has led to all sorts of unhelpful relational subcategories like friends with benefits and gay best friends. But Jesus, a single man himself, affirms singleness as a legitimate, good lifestyle choice for some people.

Some people are born that way. They simply don’t have the impulse to be in a relationship. Others are made that way through the hands of men, perhaps through abuse or misuse of the body. That being the case there is nothing wrong with singleness. And best of all there are those who chose singleness for the sake of the kingdom of God, that they may devote themselves to the work of the Lord.

Of course there are those singletons who will get married, but in our culture it’s important to uphold the validity of singleness as a way of life.