Posts by Steve Hall
Have you ever felt, as did the Psalmist, that God has forgotten you? Does it seem as though He has hid His face from you? Does your situation seem dire and seemingly your Heavenly Father is distant? Is the sense of urgency so great that you want to shout “Oh, that thou wouldest rend the heavens, that thou wouldest come down…..” Lord? Can you hear me? Are You listening? Lord, are You even there? Sure, we’ve ALL been there at some point or another in our lives, just as the great saints of old have been. Sometimes the storms of life seem like they’re going to sweep us away and there doesn’t appear to be any hope in the foreseeable future. When life gets difficult (and it will) we must remember what David wrote in Psalm 40:4 “Blessed (happy) is that man who maketh the LORD his trust….” Here, “trust” simply means refuge or security. In the storms we face, God is our refuge and though He may seem distant, though He may seem to have forgotten you, remember this…..things aren’t always as they seem to be. God will never leave you nor forsake you. Trust Him to be your trust.
Psalms 120-134 are called Songs of degrees or Songs of Ascents. It is generally agreed upon that these Psalms were sung by pilgrims on the ascending march from the Babylonian captivity to Jerusalem. The Hebrew word for glad conveys that of a joyful or cheerful countenance, perhaps even the making of merry voices and leaping for joy! Wow! Do you get that excited when Sunday rolls around and you have the opportunity to worship in the house of God? Let us rejoice with praise and thanksgiving, with BIG smiles on our faces and a spring in our step as we congregate this Lord’s Day to worship our God and King, our Savior!
C.S. Lewis once said of pride, “There is one vice of which no man in the world is free; which everyone in the world loathes when he sees it in someone else and of which hardly any people, except Christians, ever imagine that they are guilty themselves. There is no fault which makes a man more unpopular, and no fault which we are more unconscious of in ourselves. And the more we have it ourselves, the more we dislike it in others.” Pride manifests itself in many ways. One way of identifying pride is when one spends all their time talking about themselves and feigns giving God any credit by an obligatory mention of Him here and there. Listen to what Solomon says! Destruction is the result and a fall is sure to come.
In days past, we looked at “what is love?”, “what is truth?” now let’s look at “what is right?” So, “right” can be defined as morally good, justified or acceptable. The word employed in our text conveys the thought of doing what is right in my own eyes, i.e., what pleases me, what I approve rather than what God approves or what pleases Him. In other words, “right” became relative rather than absolute, subjective to how one may feel about a certain situation rather than objective. The line of demarcation between right and wrong has been blurred by moral relativism. Today, as in the days of the Judges of Israel, nearly everyone advocates this “to each their own” philosophy. The standard for what “right” is, is found in God’s unchanging, forever relevant, forever settled Word, the Bible. As the moral fabric of our society continues to decay, we can be sure of this, the Word of God will never change! It’s not fluid where it will somehow adapt to changes we see in our society where once what was held as being right or sacred has now become wrong or profane.
Wow! Talk about rightly dividing the word of truth! As Jesus read from Isaiah 61:1-2, he stopped at “the acceptable year of the Lord,” which is connected with the first advent and His gracious offer of Himself, “the day of vengeance of our God” belongs to the second advent and judgement. As we study the Bible and share our thoughts with others on social media where it’s forever recorded in cyberspace, let’s be very sure to rightly divide the word of truth. We mustn’t offer our own opinion of what a passage may say but employ proper biblical exegesis as we share the Scriptures and it’s meaning.
Dear Christian, do you find it difficult to sing the Lord’s song? Do the cares of this life have you weighed down? We have just experienced a year that took us by surprise and brought with it sickness, separation, death, loneliness, isolation, unemployment, division, bitterness and a myriad of other problems! The pain is real, often seen etched in the face of those that have been hit the hardest. This world isn’t our home! We are in a strange land, a land that is becoming day by day more inhospitable for those whose real home is beyond the Jordan. Let’s keep our eyes as Abraham did on the City whose builder is God. Soon my dear friend, we’ll see as John the Revelator did, a new heaven and a new earth. Then and only then will we be able to sing the Lord’s song because we’ll be at home with Him, rejoicing evermore!
The proverbial question: “What is truth”. Muse on this a spell, after all, this is a meditation. Blush It seems to me that everyone has their own truth. There’s “The Four Truths” Objective Truth: what exists and can be proved in this physicality Normative Truth: what we, as a group, agree is true Subjective Truth: how the individual sees or experiences the world Complex Truth: recognizes the validity of all those truths and allows you to focus on the one that is most useful at any given time.
Have you ever wondered as you’ve read this text what on earth does it mean? Apparently, Israel was using this proverb, complaining that what they were experiencing in terms of judgement or discipline from God was due to the sins of their fathers thus exonerating themselves of any culpability. However, God was demanding that they stop employing this proverb to explain their current state of affairs. They were not being judged due to the sins of their fathers, they were being judged for their own sins! I believe many Christians have the same mind-set as Israel. Rather than taking personal responsibility for our sins, we try to blame our adversities on the sins of others. It’s true that we are heavily influenced by our parents and can learn from them bad or sinful behavior but we have the choice to do right or wrong. Just because our parents were bad doesn’t mean we have to follow their footsteps. God will not chastise us for the sins that others may commit but He will for the one’s we commit.
Have you ever been in a situation, a difficult spot, a hard place in your life when you thought that there was no way out, no answer to your problem, no deliverance from your dilemma? I’m sure that Abram felt somewhat like that when God promised to make him a father of many nations at the age of 75. As Abram waited on God to fulfill His promise he wasn’t getting any younger nor was his wife Sarai. Tick, tick, tick, tick…..so the time went. Abram eventually took the matter into his own hands and out of God’s. However, Ishmael was not the son of promise. At the ripe old age of 99, God reveals Himself to Abram as El Shaddai, God Almighty in Genesis 17:1 reaffirming the promise to make Abram the father of many nations and God did fulfill that promise with the birth of Isaac. WOW! Going back to our text, “Is there anything too hard for Almighty God?” Emphatically, unequivocally no!
All one has to do is pay attention to those around you and you’ll fine that so many people are hurting! Have you ever felt like Satan, as a roaring lion, took you back in the woods and just shredded you to pieces? The devil is certainly on the warpath! Perhaps he knows what we all suspect….the return of Jesus will be sooner than later. Until His return, we can trust that He will heal our broken hearts and bind up our wounds. Our God is great! Our God has great power! And our God understands us with infinite understanding even though many haven’t the foggiest idea of what we may be going through or the brokenness we’re experiencing. God does! Trust Him, He loves you.