My Soul Clings to the Dust

30 03 2012

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Psalms 119:25 Daleth. My soul cleaves to the dust; Revive me according to Your word.

An intimate walk with the Lord does not mean that there will smooth sailing 100 percent of the time.  Our sojourn here on earth will always be full of times when our face is in the dirt.  But, the word here for “cleaves” seems to have a deeper meaning to it; it seems to refer to being joined or to cling to the dust.  It is the same word used in Genesis 2:24 in reference to the way a husband and wife cleave (are united) to one another.  How wonderfully descriptive of our battle of the flesh!  Our soul is tied to the world, feeling its constant tug.  As believers, we recognize that it is but dust, but we cannot help but still find that we are attached to it and unable to get full release from its pull.

Of all the verses we have studied so far, this one feels most fitted to me.  I love the Lord and long to serve Him.  I spend time with Him every morning in prayer and reading His Word.  My heart is full and ready to walk through out my day in a manner that is worthy of His calling.  In actual application, however, too often my heart seems to stay rooted to my desk and my soul rises up to look for some Dust to fill its hunger.  By noon I can be left spiritually empty and defeated… sometimes not even that long.  And I hate it.  I long to be completely and utterly consumed by the Spirit of the Lord that there isn’t any room for the soul to exert its force!  Although that kind of fullness will not happen this side of heaven, there is a God who stays close and who does not leave me in the dust.  His wave upon wave of grace washes me off and sets me once again in right standing (Ephesians 5:26).  Praise God that He is not surprised by my inability to keep myself out of the dust, but has already provided all I need to be scrubbed clean day by day (1 John 1:7,9)!

The answer?  Revival through prayer and God’s Word.  This happens completely at salvation, but experientially day by day, and sometimes moment by moment, by an intimate relationship with the God of Life who breathes His Spirit into us.

The phrase “revive me” occurs 13 times in Scripture.  All but three are in this psalm.  It was a common theme for the psalmist who felt (like us) that he could not escape its jaws nipping wildly at his heels.  Eternal life is secure for the true believer in Christ Jesus and His sin sacrifice that paid the penalty for his transgressions, but that doesn’t mean that we aren’t surrounded its threat continually through out our days.

It is not a problem of IF God will revive, but WHEN.

  1. We can trust God will revive according to His word (or because He said He would) Psalm 119:25, 107

Promises —

  • Ps 71:20 You who have shown me many troubles and distresses Will revive me again, And will bring me up again from the depths of the earth.
  • Ps 138:7 Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me; You will stretch forth Your hand against the wrath of my enemies, And Your right hand will save me.

2.  God will revive through His righteousness (using things that are in right standing with Him) Psalm 119:40

3.  We can trust God will revive according to His lovingkindess (His grace, love, kindness and mercy all rolled into one) Psalm 119:88, 159

God revives in His ways and in His timing, for His name’s sake, and without any merit on our part.  That is good news!  That means that it is all Him, and He is an All Powerful God.

 Ps 143:11 For the sake of Your name, O LORD, revive me. In Your righteousness bring my soul out of trouble.

The psalmist’s soul clings to the dust and he knows that his only hope is to have God resuscitate him, breathing new life into him. While we may feel our soul clings too much to the dust, true believers can trust that the God of Life will cling all the tighter to us with cords of love that will finish the good work of salvation and save us from its chokehold (2 Timothy 1:12).

Here we find nature’s disease confessed, and a cry directed to the Lord for the only remedy.  Dust will cleave to dust; only the divinely regenerated rises to God, and even that needs daily renewal.  The Lord has promised us quickening, let us seek it.– C. H. Spurgeon

 (Romans 12:2) And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. 

 He means in part that he was full of sorrow; for mourners in the east cast dust on their heads, and sat in ashes, and the Psalmist felt as if these ensigns of woe were glued to him, and his very soul was made to cleave to them because of his powerlessness to rise above his grief. Does he not also mean that he felt ready to die?  Did he not feel his life absorbed and fast held by the grave’s mould, half choked by the death dust? It may not be straining the language if we conceive that he also felt and bemoaned his earthly mindedness and spiritual deadness. There was a tendency in his soul to cling to earth which he greatly bewailed. Whatever was the cause of his complaint, it was no surface evil, but an affair of his inmost spirit; his soul cleaved to the dust; and it was not a casual and accidental falling into the dust, but a continuous and powerful tendency, or cleaving to the earth. But what a mercy that the good man could feel and deplore whatever there was of evil in the cleaving! The serpent’s seed can find their meat in the dust, but never shall the seed of the woman be thus degraded. Many are of the earth earthy, and never lament it; only the heaven born and heaven soaring spirit pines at the thought of being fastened to this world, and bird limed by its sorrows or its pleasures. — C. H. Spurgeon

O Lord!  Too often my soul clings to this ball of dust on which I live.  It loves and longs for temporary things and it too often ends up choking the life from my spiritual walk.  Revive me according to Your Word and in Your righteousness.  Don’t let me stay with my face in the dirt, but raise me up and stick my soul firmly to You alone, for I know in Whom I have believed and I am most convinced that You are not only able, but also willing, to guard against loss or robbery the salvation and sanctification that I have entrusted to You until the day that I am with You complete in Heaven.

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Good Advice

29 03 2012

Psalms 119:24 Your testimonies also are my delight; They are my counselors.

Testimonies: witness, as if at a trial; refers to God’s revealed law

Delight: enjoyment, pleasure

Counselors: advice; plans

The psalmist looks at all the witnesses of God and His faithfulness in them, and find that they give him great pleasure. The Word of God is His primary witness and the psalmist has repeatedly told of the joy and delight it has brought to his life. This great psalm in itself is a clear and solid testimony to the wonderful nature of God and His Word. How can we look on all that God has done, is doing and has promised to do and not find ourselves enjoying every minute of it?! Truly the heart that has eyes to see God’s overwhelming abundance of witnesses that testify of His grace, mercy, truth, holiness and faithfulness is the happiest of all for everything else pales in comparison.

The psalmist does not just take joy in seeing the witnesses; he also receives them and uses them in his life. He does not look to Oprah or Dr. Phil, or modern psychology for advice; he lets the Truth be his counsel and guide.

In the Hebrew it is, “the men of my counsel,” which is fitly mentioned; for he had spoken of princes sitting in council against him. Princes do nothing without the advice of their Privy Council; a child of God hath also his Privy Council, God’s testimonies… Alphonsus, king of Arragon, being asked who were the best counsellors? answered, “The dead (meaning books), which cannot flatter, but do without partiality declare the truth.” Now of all such dead counsellors, God’s testimonies have the preeminence. A poor, godly man, even then when he is deserted of all, and hath nobody to plead for him, he hath his senate, and his council of state about him, the prophets and apostles, and “other holy men of God, that spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” A man so furnished, is never less alone than when alone; for he hath counsellors about him that tell him what is to be believed or done; and they are such counsellors as cannot err, as will not flatter him, nor applaud him in any sin, nor discourage or dissuade him from that which is good, whatever hazard it expose him to. And truly, if we be wise, we should choose such counsellors as these: “Thy testimonies are the men of my counsel.” Thomas Manton.

It seems to me that unless the testimonies of the Lord are our delight that we will never let them be effective counsel in our lives. A heart that is trained to see and to rejoice in the testimonies of the Lord is the one that also values its message enough to follow it. This is especially in hard times when temporal things can scream awfully loud, threatening to drown out the Truth.

In consequence of his meditating in the word, David was kept both from sadness and perplexity. We can only gain comfort from the Bible by following its directions, and living upon its doctrines. — C. H. Spurgeon

Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.

Lord God, let me see Your testimonies. Let me digest them so that they become sweet and a delight to my soul. May they become such a integral part of my life that no matter the emotional turmoil around me, may I always follow their counsel and not the conventional wisdom of the world, or well meaning people.





Sticks and Stones

28 03 2012

Psalms 119:23 Even though princes sit and talk against me, Your servant meditates on Your statutes.

“Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me” is a lie.  Words wound and the closer the relationship, the more hurtful words can be.

It would seem that the psalmist was the victim of gossip by those who should have been his allies.  How difficult it is during times like those to not let the gossip draw your attention away from the Lord and His faithfulness!  We tend to mull over what was said, even repeating it to others in an effort to regain our feelings of good standing among those we trust.  David, however, didn’t let the gossip consume his attention.  He kept his focus upon God and the Truth, thereby finding himself continually awash with who he was in God’s eyes.  The child who knows he is loved by a faithful father cares little of how others feel about him.

It occurs to me that if David wrote the Great Psalm than he was also a king; and as such, the princes in verse 23 could refer to his sons.  I can’t imagine anything more hurtful for a parent than to know that his kids are saying mean things about him.  I think it is natural to want your kids to like you, and it stings when they don’t.  In the face of bad mouthing, it is way too easy to develop an “I will do whatever I can to get my kid to like me” attitude.

People pleasing will get us into trouble every time (John 12:43; Luke 16:15).  “Woe to you when all men speak well of you.” (Luke 6:26)

I like David’s suggestion that it is sometimes just the way it is, but that doesn’t mean that the gossip has to take up a whole lot of room in my thoughts.  No matter who is talking against me, what I need to remember is who I am to the Lord.  He has declared me His beloved daughter, and that is truly the opinion that matters.    Why would I think about anything else?

 It is very beautiful to see the two sittings: the princes sitting to reproach David, and David sitting with his God and his Bible, answering his traducers by never answering them at all. Those who feed upon the word grow strong and peaceful, and are by God’s grace hidden from the strife of tongues. — C.H. Spurgeon

 REMIND ME WHO I AM (song by Jason Grey)

 When I lose my way and I forget my name,

remind me who I am.

In the mirror all I see is who I don’t want to be…

remind me who I am.

In the loneliest places, when I can’t remember what grace is.

Tell me once again, who I am to You… who I am to You.

Tell me lest I forget who I am to You…

that I belong to You… to You.

When my heart is like a stone and I’m running far from home, remind me who I am.

When I can’t receive the love, afraid I’ll never be enough, remind me who I am.

If I’m Your Beloved, can You help me believe it?

Tell me once again, who I am to You… who I am to You.

Tell me lest I forget who I am to You…

that I belong to You… to You.

I’m the one You love, I’m the one You love

I will be enough, I’m the one You love!

Tell me once again, who I am to You… who I am to You.

Tell me lest I forget who I am to You…

that I belong to You… to You.

Lord, when gossip comes or I just feel as if it is there, draw me close.  Let me hear who You say that I am.  May I think long on Your truths about me and believe it when you say:

BECAUSE YOU ARE A DAUGHTER OF GOD

(according to 1 John 3:1)…

  •  Greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world (1 John 4:4)
  • You have been sanctified through the offering of the Jesus Christ (Hebrews 10:10)
  • You are loved with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3)
  • Your conscience has been cleansed from dead works to serve the Living God (Hebrews 9:14)
  • You are heard by God (1 John 14-15)
  • You have been granted everything you need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3)
  • You have an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast (Hebrews 6:18)
  • You have a high priest who can sympathize with your weaknesses (Hebrews 4:15)
  • You have someone to come to your aid in times of temptation (Hebrews 2:18)
  • You have been called for the purpose that you might inherit a blessing (1 Peter 3:9)
  • You will be rescued from every evil deed and will be brought safely to Heaven (2 Timothy 4:18)
  • He has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9)
  • You have the firm foundation that God knows you are His (2 Timothy 2:19)
  • You have understanding in everything through the Lord (2 Timothy 2:7)
  • You are being built up into a spiritual house for a royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:5)
  • You have grace, mercy and peace from God and Jesus Christ (2 Timothy 1:2)
  • You are born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:3)
  • You are strengthened and protect against the evil one (2 Thessalonians 3:3)
  • You have an inheritance that is death-proof, sin-proof, and time-proof (1 Peter 1:4)
  • You are not destined for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through Jesus (1 Thessalonians 5:9)
  • He who calls you is faithful, and He will bring it to pass (1 Thessalonians 5:24)
  • You have been rescued from the darkness and transferred to the kingdom of God (Colossians 1:13)
  • You will be presented before Him holy, blameless, and beyond reproach (Colossians 1:22)
  • You have the hope of glory in Christ who is in you (Colossians 1:27)
  • You are qualified to share in the inheritance of the saints in the Light (Colossians 1:12)
  • Your needs will be supplied according to His riches in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19)
  • You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you (Philippians 4:13)
  • You are protected by the power of God (1 Peter 1:5)
  • He who began a good work in you will complete it (Philippians 1:6)
  • Your faith is more precious than God (1 Peter 1:7)
  • He will guard what you have entrusted to Him (2 Timothy 1:12)
  • He will not disappoint you (1 Peter 2:6)
  • You are chosen as a precious possession of God’s (1 Peter 2:9)
  • You have received mercy (1 Peter 2:10)
  • You have been made complete in Him (Colossians 2:10)
  • Your debt has been canceled out by the cross (Colossians 2:14)
  • You have an anointing from the Holy One (1 John 2:20)
  • You have an example to follow (1 Peter 2:21)
  • You have been raised up with Christ (Colossians 3:1)
  • Your life has been hidden with Christ in God (Colossians 3:3)
  • You will receive the reward of your inheritance (Colossians 3:24)
  • You have a crown of righteousness laid up for you (2 Timothy 4:8)
  • You have been called to the Lord’s eternal glory (1 Peter 5:10)
  • Your love and work are not forgotten (Hebrews 6:10)
  • You have been perfected for all time (Hebrews 10:14)
  • You have received a kingdom which cannot be shaken (Hebrews 12:28)




Rolling, Rolling, Rolling…

27 03 2012

Psalms 119:22 Take away reproach and contempt from me, For I observe Your testimonies.

 Literally, roll away disgrace and disrespect from me, for I maintain and preserve Your faithful Witnesses.

 Some reproach and contempt or disgrace and disrespect are a result of our own choices, and some are simply lies from the enemy circulated to damage God’s witness in us.  Whether through our own doing or another’s deceit, humility and dependence upon the Lord is the only cure.  David was an adulterer and a murderer, it isn’t hard to imagine all the yammering that went on regarding his sin and ensuing cover up.  And it isn’t hard to imagine how little of it was resolved simply by his confession and repentance.  The enemy does not let something go simply because we are right with God.  No!  He all the more whispers his slandering lies into the hearts of the unsuspecting to mar the faithful witness of God’s grace in the lives of those who depend completely upon Him for restoration and renewal. 

 The best way to deal with slander is to pray about it: God will either remove it, or remove the sting from it. Our own attempts at clearing ourselves are usually failures; we are like the boy who wished to remove the blot from his copy, and by his bungling made it ten times worse. When we suffer from a libel it is better to pray about it than go to law over it, or even to demand an apology from the inventor. O ye who are reproached, take your matters before the highest court, and leave them with the Judge of all the earth. God will rebuke your proud accuser; be ye quiet and let your advocate plead your cause. — C. H. Spurgeon

 (1 Peter 4:15-19) Make sure that none of you suffers as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler; but if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name. For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? AND IF IT IS WITH DIFFICULTY THAT THE RIGHTEOUS IS SAVED, WHAT WILL BECOME OF THE GODLESS MAN AND THE SINNER? Therefore, those also who suffer according to the will of God shall entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right. 

 A good conscience is the best security for a good name; reproach will not abide with those who abide with Christ, neither will contempt remain upon those who remain faithful to the ways of the Lord. — C. H. Spurgeon

The Accuser ever lives to point his finger at your indiscretions and failures.  We have an Advocate, though, to stand between us and his accusations.  Jesus ever lives to be the go-between so that all the disgrace and disrespect we deserve is rolled away like the stone of the grave that could not hold Him.  We overcome the Accuser by standing firm in our faith in efficacy of the blood that redeemed us, as well as by the grace and power of the Holy Spirit.  (Revelation 12:10; Hebrews 8:25; 1 John 1:9)

(Zechariah 3:1-7) Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him. The LORD said to Satan, “The LORD rebuke you, Satan! Indeed, the LORD who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is this not a brand plucked from the fire?” Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments and standing before the angel. He spoke and said to those who were standing before him, saying, “Remove the filthy garments from him.” Again he said to him, “See, I have taken your iniquity away from you and will clothe you with festal robes.” Then I said, “Let them put a clean turban on his head.” So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him with garments, while the angel of the LORD was standing by. And the angel of the LORD admonished Joshua, saying, “Thus says the LORD of hosts, ‘If you will walk in My ways and if you will perform My service, then you will also govern My house and also have charge of My courts, and I will grant you free access among these who are standing here. 

Oh, Lord, protect me from deserving reproach and contempt! Let the slander of the enemy roll off my back as the water off a duck’s back for I have set my eyes on being a good witness of Your Grace and Mercy. 





Discipline is Not Optional

26 03 2012

Psalms 119:21 You rebuke the arrogant, the cursed, Who wander from Your commandments.

rebuke:  to chide, correct or reprove

commandments:  rule of conduct; used of God’s law in general

This is one of those “judgments” on which the psalmist looks and perceives, and as a result he stands upon its truth.  He sees no hypocrisy in a God who is full of grace and mercy, and also who executes necessary punishment on those who are disobedient to Him.  It is a father who loves deeply who protects his son most fully, even from his own foolish behavior.

 (Hebrews 12:4-10) You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin; and you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons, “MY SON, DO NOT REGARD LIGHTLY THE DISCIPLINE OF THE LORD, NOR FAINT WHEN YOU ARE REPROVED BY HIM; FOR THOSE WHOM THE LORD LOVES HE DISCIPLINES, AND HE SCOURGES EVERY SON WHOM HE RECEIVES.” It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness. 

The psalmist outlines those whom the Lord rebukes:

  • The prideful (arrogant)- those who think their own ways are better
  • The cursed – those rendered powerless to resist or bound (those taken into slavery)
  • Those who wander – those who inadvertently and unintentionally stray from God’s commands

The first isn’t a stretch, is it?  We know how God feels about the arrogant and prideful:

James 4:6 But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE.”

But,why does God rebuke those who didn’t mean to leave (like those taken into slavery or those who accidentally wander off)?

Those who are taken into slavery need to leave the yoke of slavery and be bound once again to the Lord.  Stockholm syndrome can tie us to our captives in an unhealthy manner, so that we need that proverbial slap in the face to right our thinking.  God is faithful to bring His own bondslaves back into fellowship, even after a sojourn in the enemy’s camp.  Point in case is Lot who was taken captive and rescued by his uncle, Abraham. He was in the wrong place at the wrong time and suffered the consequences for that; but Abraham still went after him.

Galatians 5:1 It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.

A sheep who wanders away from the shepherd and the protection of the flock is an easy target for the enemy.  A good shepherd will use his staff to draw his sheep back.  And should that sheep continue to wander, he will break its legs so that it cannot walk and carry it until it is healed.  That process knits the sheep’s heart to the shepherd permanently.

Is God any less a Good Shepherd to His Sheep?

(John 10:11-16) “I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. “He who is a hired hand, and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. “He flees because he is a hired hand and is not concerned about the sheep. “I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me, even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. “I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock with one shepherd.”

Those who become distracted or misinformed and wander need discipline to herd them back to the Shepherd’s side so that they don’t continue to take the wrong path.  Despite popular belief, not all paths lead to heaven, holiness, or God.  The enemy works constantly to move us from the path of God’s best for us in order to destroy us and our witness.  A faithful God keeps watch over His kids and, when necessary, gives them a swat to the behind to get them back where they belong.

This use of God’s judgments upon others must we make to ourselves; first, that we may be brought to acknowledge our deserts, and so may fear; and, next, that we may so behold his justice upon the proud that we may have assurance of his mercy to the humble. This is hard to flesh and blood; for some can be brought to rejoice at the destruction of others, and cannot fear; and others, when they are made to fear, cannot receive comfort. But those which God hath joined together let us not separate: therefore let us make these uses of God’s judgments. –Richard Greenham.

Whether through slavery or stupid self reliance, or  accidental wandering, I pray that the Lord will continue to discipline me so that I will be more alert, humble and ever so diligent to follow after Him.  May I view His discipline as mercy and grace, at all times, and praise Him for it… even when it stings.

Hebrews 12:11 All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.





Must…Have…It!

23 03 2012

Psalms 119:20 My soul is crushed with longing After Your ordinances at all times.

When I pick up a good fiction book, I literally devour it.  I will do as little as possible to get by so that I can be in that book as much as possible, both relishing the push to finish and hating when it comes to an end.  What if I felt that same passion and drive about the Word?  I do sometimes, on a smaller scale, but not an all consuming “must be in it” as much as possible kind of passion.

What if God’s Word was not available to me?  Would I be crushed with longing for it?  Or would I figure that the little I had stored away in my heart was enough.  I often worry about food and water supplies, should there be some kind of disaster, but rarely do I worry about whether or not I have enough of the Word.  If my soul were as fat as the rest of me, perhaps, I would have my longings properly placed.

 (Psalms 42:1-2) As the deer pants for the water brooks, So my soul pants for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God; When shall I come and appear before God?

 As the deer panteth for the water so my soul longeth after Thee;

You alone are heart’s desire and I long to worship Thee.

You alone are my strength my shield.

To You alone may my spirit yield.

You alone are my heart’s desire and I long to worship Thee.

 My soul thirst for the living God.

My soul thirsts for You alone.

My soul thirsts for the living God alone.

 (Psalms 63:1) O God, You are my God; I shall seek You earnestly; My soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You, In a dry and weary land where there is no water. 

 O God, You are my God, and I will ever seek You.

I will seek You in the morning

and learn to walk in Your ways;

and step by step You’ll lead me,

and I will follow You all of my days.

 (Psalms 84:2) My soul longed and even yearned for the courts of the LORD; My heart and my flesh sing for joy to the living God. 

 How lovely is Your dwelling place, O Lord Almighty.

My soul longs and even faints for You.

Oh, here my heart is satisfied, within Your presence.

I sing beneath the shadow of Your wings…

One thing I ask, and I would seek, to see Your beauty.

To find You in the place Your glory dwells…

My heart and flesh cry out, to You the Living God.

Your Spirit’s water to my soul.

I’ve tasted and I’ve seen, come once again to me.

I will draw near to You…

Better is one day in Your courts,

better is one day in Your house.

Better is one day in Your courts than thousands elsewhere.

We sing long and often about the desire for more, but do we live it?  I think the weight of the knowledge that my flesh is often loudest in its longings and I am quickest to listen to it crushes my soul.  Truly, I WANT to fulfill the longing of the Lord, but end up doing the very thing I don’t want to do.  Truly, if the Holy Spirit doesn’t consume me, I will be lost forever in a sea of my own fleshly desires, and end up with nothing at all.

 True godliness lies very much in desires. As we are not what we shall be, so also we are not what we would be. The desires of gracious men after holiness are intense, — they cause a wear of heart, a straining of the mind, till it feels ready to snap with the heavenly pull. A high value of the Lord’s commandment leads to a pressing desire to know and to do it, and this so weighs upon the soul that it is ready to break in pieces under the crush of its own longings. What a blessing it is when all our desires are after the things of God. We may well long for such longings…

Note well that our desire after the mind of God should be constant; we should feel holy longings “at all times.” Desires which can be put off and on like our garments are at best but mere wishes, and possibly they are hardly true enough to be called by that name, — they are temporary emotions born of excitement, and doomed to die when the heat which created them has cooled down. He who always longs to know and do the right is the truly right man. His judgment is sound, for he loves all God’s judgments, and follows them with constancy. His times shall be good, since he longs to be good and to do good at all times.  — C. H. Spurgeon





It’s Okay Not to Belong

22 03 2012

Psalms 119:19 I am a stranger in the earth; Do not hide Your commandments from me.

  •  Stranger:  a guest; a foreigner; an alien

 I find it interesting that the King of a great nation felt as if he didn’t belong in his own realm. 

 Ps 39:12 “Hear my prayer, O LORD, and give ear to my cry; Do not be silent at my tears; For I am a stranger with You, A sojourner like all my fathers.

 Man was made in the image of God and his life began with the very breath of God in his lungs.  His first home was a perfect and wonderful place where everything around him was good and pleasant.  There was nothing foreign or strange in any of it.  With the fall, however, and the subsequent judgment, Man was tossed from his true Home into a world that was alien to him because it was marked by death.  A great and mighty angel guards the way to that Home now.  And we are all left with a knowledge that exists deep within us that we were never meant to live in this kind of world. 

 Heb 11:13 All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.

 A home should be a safe place that protects us, even while we sleep.  A home should be warm and comfortable at all times.  A home should be filled with those we love and who love us.  A home is a refuge and a place were we can be ourselves.  Believers get into trouble when they begin to expect this world to be home for them.  The world lies and says it will protect you, but is like a spider who may deaden your pain, but is out to consume you as soon as you become deadened to it.  The world loves you… loves to steal, kill and destroy you. 

 Joh 15:19 “If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you.”

 This world is not my home.  I do not fit in here, nor am I comfortable.  Nor should I be.  If ever I get comfortable, then I am in the biggest danger of my life.  I am a stranger in a strange land who continues to look for an unobscured view of his homeland.  Because I am Not of This World, I can expect that I will not be understood or loved by those who are Of It.

  The thing that tethered the psalmist to his rightful place beside the King of Kings was His Word.  Lost without word from his Home would be devastating to someone long away from it.  It is almost a desperate plea that sends this great man to his knees, asking his Lord to not hide that hope from him.

 (Colossians 1:9-14) For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light. For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. 

 So, why would the Lord hide His word from His people? 

  •  We see that God hides things from those who turn away from Him:

 Ge 4:14 Behold, You have driven me this day from the face of the ground; and from Your face I will be hidden, and I will be a vagrant and a wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.”

 De 31:18 “But I will surely hide My face in that day because of all the evil which they will do, for they will turn to other gods.

 The principle is clear.  God’s word and His face are hidden from those who have made this earth their home, so that they embrace it as their motherland and live as proud citizens of its sin and death.  The psalmist recognized that even though he absolutely ,positively knew that this was not his home, that his flesh still felt attached to it by cords that would not be severed this side of Heaven.  He knows too that the only way that his view will be clear is if the Lord turns toward him.  Our flesh purposefully obstructs our view to the commands of God, lest we begin to hunger more for it than we do the things that feed its lusts.

 Oh, Lord God, because this is not my home and I feel out of place, I am all the more desperate to see Your face, to hear Your word, and to know that You are here with me at all times.  Please don’t allow me to snuggle up and get comfortable in this foreign land so that Your truth is hidden from me and I get lost.  Fit me together with Your people so that together we will be a strong presence of glory to You at all times.

 (Ephesians 2:19-22) So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.