Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Psalm 23 - #10

Psalm 23:6b . . . and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

This is the kind of expression that makes those who do not believe in God flinch. They believe that there is no place to dwell after a person is dead. If evolution were the proven scientific theory that many believe that it is, this may be true; but evolution has not and cannot be proven. Therefore, the possibility of an Intelligent Designer, thus, God, is very real. That reality springs to the truth that what God says in his book is true.

Jesus said in John 14:2 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. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. Where is Jesus? Eph 4:8 Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.

So Jesus is ascended up on high; that is, Heaven. He is at the right hand of the Father: Heb 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

One day I will dwell there. My mother is there; my wife is there; my foster brother is there; many of my friends are there; and Jesus is there. I often tell the story about the woman who became my wife. Before we were married, I told her that I did not know where I would be living, since I was a preacher. She said, "As long as you are there, I don't care where we are." That is the nicest thing she ever said to me. I feel the same way about Jesus. If he is there, that is where I want to be.

In this verse I find the promise that I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Forever is a long, long time. Only our Shepherd can make such a promise. The promise goes out to everyone who is his sheep: John 10:27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:
28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.

Let the Atheists howl of their empty destiny. Let the Modernists make fun of a real place called Heaven. Let the Moderates wonder about eternity and its beauty and its permanence. I will put my trust in God. Psalm 62:8 Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah.

Thus goes the Psalm about our Shepherd. I shall not want. I shall be supplied. I shall eat and drink of good things. I shall live in his house forever. What more can I desire, and what more pleasure can I have than to know without a doubt that I will be with my Shepherd physically and eternally?

2 Tim. 1:12 For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.

On those streets, whether gold or not
Fastening my eyes upon my Lord,
Jesus on the throne there sitting,
Issuing standards from his Word.

Alive I'll be and present there
To behold my Shepherd in fine array.
I'll sing his praises without end
And worship God through endless day.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Psalm 23 - #9

Psalm 23:6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life:

From the time that I was conceived in my mother's womb, God was present with me. His prevenient grace gave me stay and protected me, following behind my every move and thought. He was hidden from my realization of him except for what I was taught from others; but when I was 13 years old, I began to know him intimately. That is when he saved me by his grace.

It was not until later that I realized all the care and kindness that God had shown me before my salvation. When I was a baby, I drank some turpentine and almost died; but God was there to care for me. When I was a little older I had double pneumonia and almost died, but God was there to care for me. When I was almost three years old, I had Polio and could have died; but God was there to care for me. When I was in my 20's, I crossed a railroad track and realized that a train was speeding from around the corner unbeknown to me, but God was there to care for me. I am now 63 years old, and God has been caring for me all the time. From my conception until now God has been my Caring One.

"All the days of my life" does not refer only to my life since my salvation; it denotes every day of my life from first to last. He has always cared for me; he loved me from the foundation of the world. But his providence has been active in my personal life all the days of my life.

God's goodness is his protection and prosperity. He always has and always will give me the necessities of life. When it is my time to die, he will allow death to take this body; but he will still care for me through eternity. All the days of my life include every minute of every day and every second of every minute. He is there "all the days," not just a few of the days. Remember, God is with you every day and all day long, even through the night when we are unaware of our surroundings. Psalm 33:5 He loveth righteousness and judgment: the earth is full of the goodness of the LORD.

God's mercy is countless, sublime and supreme. Mercy is a spiritual and divine thing. God's mercy follows me. The word "follow" in the Hebrew means "to pursue." Mercy will chase after me, find me, and bless me: We do not follow after mercy, because we are all human and depraved in heart and mind; but God's mercy runs after us just as a guided missile. When needed, it overtakes us and overwhelms us. Psalm 32:10 Many sorrows shall be to the wicked: but he that trusteth in the LORD, mercy shall compass him about. Then we feel his blessings and know his love. Psalm 13:5 But I have trusted in thy mercy; my heart shall rejoice in thy salvation.

Tomorrow will be no different from today. His goodness and mercy will follow us through the night and into the next day. They never cease pursuing us as God's children. Every day without exception they follow us. When goodness and mercy are needed, just cry out as the Psalmist in Psalm 30:10 Hear, O LORD, and have mercy upon me: LORD, be thou my helper. He will not turn you away but will come to your aid, especially when you are obedient to him. Zech. 13:9 And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God.