Tuesday, April 28, 2020
“A despotism may almost be defined as a tired democracy. As fatigue falls on a community, the citizens are less inclined for that eternal vigilance which has truly been called the price of liberty; and they prefer to arm only one single sentinel to watch the city while they sleep.” [G.K. Chesterton]
There is much about the human race that is difficult to understand. God makes clear in His testimony about us throughout our history, is our great capacity to be deceived. No matter what situation we face, whether it be at a personal level, or local, or national, or worldwide, God tells not to be surprised. Be a light to the world. Be spiritual. See more of Christ that you have not yet seen while you project what you have seen to the world around you. Satan is definitely working overtime right now. God is also working, but God’s work will prove to be the fulfillment of goodness, so much so that He will use the work of Satan to the same end, frustrating Satan’s plans as always. It is also true that God is patient while Satan is always in a rush. God will allow Satan’s plans to unfold, and during that time there will be greater suffering upon man and upon the church, but be of good courage:
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? 33 Who will bring a charge against God's elect? God is the one who justifies; 34 who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
Tribulation, distress (a narrow place), persecution (put to flight), famine (hunger), nakedness (unclothed or poorly clothed), peril (immediate danger), sword (instrument of the state or war).
Just as it is written,
"For Thy sake we are being put to death all day long;
We were considered as sheep to be slaughtered."
37 But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
The context of Psa 44 is that the nation of Israel had been defeated in battle, but it is impossible for us to determine what battle he is referring to. From the psalm we know that some of their own were deported as prisoners, some of their cities were destroyed. It seemed to the people that the Lord was nowhere to help. Yet the writer of the psalm recalls God’s track record and knows that God had not deserted them. The suffering had come upon them for a reason that the writer didn’t know, but he did know that God was faithful.
Thus, psalm is appropriate for suffering because so often we don’t know why exactly God has allowed us to undergo a defeat. But we do know that He is faithful, and so the situation becomes
Man is alive by the breath of God, GEN 2:7. Life and death are realistically described as an importing or a withdrawing of God’s breath. Man was meant to be spiritual.
JOB 27:3 [Job]
For as long as life [neshamah = breath] is in me,
And the breath [ruach = spirit] of God is in my nostrils,
JOB 33:4 [Elihu]
"The Spirit [ruach] of God has made me,
And the breath [neshamah] of the Almighty gives me life.
JOB 34:14-15 [Elihu]
"If He should determine to do so,
If He should gather to Himself His spirit and His breath,
15 All flesh would perish together,
And man would return to dust.
Spirit and breath are spoken of as practically the same. At the least, they are together. This means that man was designed by God to be spiritual. Man was designed to have the life of God breathing within him.
The spirit of man is broken when sin is keenly felt.
A broken spirit and a contrite heart as a result of sin is the condition of the spirit that is fervent for the eternal life that has been given to him through Christ.
For Thou dost not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it;
Thou art not pleased with burnt offering.
17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit [ruach];
A broken and a contrite heart [leb], O God, Thou wilt not despise.
18 By Thy favor do good to Zion;
Build the walls of Jerusalem.
19 Then Thou wilt delight in righteous sacrifices,
In burnt offering and whole burnt offering;
Then young bulls will be offered on Thine altar.
David does give the burnt offering. In this offering the offeror lays his hand on the head of the offering signifying that his sins were transferred to the animal. David communicates here that the ritual alone did not please God. What the offering meant to the sinner is what God cared for, and then, as in vs. 19, God would “delight in righteous sacrifices.”
If a believer’s passion is to live the life of Christ then his sing is grievous to him. If he finds that it is not, the solution is not to fake contrition, but to examine his spirit and find the issue that is blocking his vision of the life of God.
The spirit of man conforms to various dark ways when he gives away his life to purchase a worldly life.
The world of man is very often not the life of God. They give away God’s life, which is offered to every man to buy another life of the world. They sell the opportunity they have for God’s life in exchange for something base and filthy.
Man can have a spirit of whoredom.
My people consult their wooden idol, and their diviner's wand informs them;
For a spirit of harlotry has led them astray,
And they have played the harlot, departing from their God.
Man can have a proud spirit instead of patient, which leads to an angry spirit.
The end of a matter is better than its beginning;
Patience of spirit is better than haughtiness of spirit.
Do not be eager in your heart [ruach - spirit] to be angry,
For anger resides in the bosom of fools.