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Isaiah 55:8-9

Isaiah 55:8-9

Friday, February 19, 2021

OH, THE PRICK OF THE HEART!

 

“... Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.’  37 Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, ‘Brothers, what shall we do?’ 38 And Peter said to them, ‘Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself… ‘“   
Acts 2:22-23, 36-41


The Gospel has the power to convict man’s heart about sin, righteousness, and judgment (John 16:7-8). This puts power in the message, that is, in the Gospel of Christ (Romans 1:16).  God uses the power of the Gospel to prick the hearts of those lost in sin, producing faith in them (Romans 1:16; 10:17; Acts 2:37-38).  But men must freely choose to obey the Gospel. God is no respecter of persons (Romans 2:11).  In the book of Acts, many heard the Gospel and were pricked in their heart.  After hearing the Gospel, they were baptized for the forgiveness of their sins (Acts 2:22, 37-38; 8:5, 12, 35; 9:6; 10:5-6; 11:14).  The Gospel pricked their hearts.  Thus they obeyed from the heart.   Oh, the pain of correction, the prick of the heart!

"Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and the rest of the apostles, Brethren, what shall we do?"  (Acts 2:37)


Men inspired by the Holy Spirit preached the Gospel.  The Gospel can open men’s hearts with understanding and discernment rather than by a personal and direct operation of the Holy Spirit like so many in the religious world claim.  The culminating act of heeding the Gospel is baptism!

Jesus did not come to this world, suffer and die on the cross so that you and I could indulge in sin.  Jesus came preaching, 

“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matt. 4:17). 

He came not to send peace, He said, but a sword and division (Matt. 10:34; Luke 12:51). He called the Scribes and Pharisees hypocrites (Matt. 23:13). He said not everyone that claimed to be His disciple will enter the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 7:21-27).  Jesus challenges us to think and do better, hear His words of salvation, and convict our hearts of sin.  Sadly, many will be offended when they hear His words.
"Many therefore of his disciples, when they heard this, said, This is a hard saying; who can hear it? 61 But Jesus knowing in himself that his disciples murmured at this, said unto them, Doth this cause you to stumble?"  (John 6:60-61


The apostles were concerned and warned Jesus that His words and speech were offensive to the Pharisees (Matt. 15:12). Some were so offended that they “went back, and walked no more with Him” (John 6:66).   

You see, the Truth, the Word of God, has this effect on some who are not honest and sincere of heart, for they love to live in darkness.  But the Truth spoken out of love for God and the souls of men can prick the honest and sincere heart.  Nevertheless, the first sermon preached was hard to hear.  
“Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know— 23 this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men… 36 Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.  37 Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, 'Brothers, what shall we do?' 38 And Peter said to them, 'Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself… '"  (Acts 2:22-23, 36-41).


Peter’s sermon was hard to hear (Acts 2:22-41).  Would you dare say that Peter had no love in his heart?  Peter loved and cared, even in his sermon on PentecostBut love demands a painful prick of the heart!  

When they heard Peter’s inspired sermon about their participation in the crucifixion of Christ, they were pricked in their heart or cut to the heart (Acts 2:37). You see, the Gospel pricked their conscience.  They felt guilty because they had rejected and murdered the very Son of God!  

Sadly, there are too many today who would rather have their teachers tickle the ears because they love to have it their way (2 Tim. 4:3). Many serve their own belly by speaking smooth words, sugar coating the precious Word of God, giving fair speeches, with no better purpose than to deceive the heart of the simple (Rom. 16:18).  

Jesus did not suffer and died on the cross so that you and I could indulge in sin.  The Word of God must challenge us because that is the only way to prick the heart!  We must allow the Word of God to prick and cut to our hearts to have its effect.  

Thus, we must examine our hearts in the light of God’s everlasting Word.  We must study the Scriptures diligently to make sure that what we hear is the Truth of God (Acts 17:11).  

May we allow the Word of God to prick our hearts to have its effect on us and be pleasing to God and go to heaven.

“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”  (Hebrews 4:12


Luci



Sunday, February 7, 2021

WE MUST OBEY GOD RATHER THAN MEN

"And when they had brought them, they set them before the council. And the high priest questioned them, 28 saying, 'We strictly charged you not to teach in this name, yet here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and you intend to bring this man's blood upon us.' 29 But Peter and the apostles answered, 'We must obey God rather than men. 30 The God of our fathers raised Jesus, whom you killed by hanging him on a tree. 31 God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. 32 And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him. 33 When they heard this, they were enraged and wanted to kill them."'  
Acts 5:27-33



Though the world might rebel at God's Word, His divine authority, and His principles of righteousness, calling evil good and good evil; changing darkness for light and light for darkness, and being wise and clever in their own eyes, God’s Word and divine principles of righteousness will be settled forever in heaven. No matter who our opponents may be, though they readily reject God’s Message that saves all men, we must resolve to strengthen our efforts to speak the Truth in love (Eph. 4:15).   

We must not compromise our faith and conviction. We must continue being lights that shine brightly in word and deed, doing all things in the name of the Lord by His authority (Col. 3:17). Remember that only the Gospel, His Truth, can make men free from sin.
"But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth" (John 8:32).
"And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free"  (John 8:32).

Thus, we must continue to take the Sword of the Spirit out of its sheath and move forward to fight against our society’s moral decay. We must keep crying aloud the Message of the Gospel to them and not hold it back. We must lift up our voices like a trumpet, declaring to all people their sins and transgressions that they might come to know God's goodness and grace and repent that He might save them from their sins and folly.
"May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.  3 His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, 4 by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire"  (2 Peter 1:2-4).

Our Father's kingdom shall never be destroyed. He will triumph in the end, even when wrong and wickedness seem so strong. God is still sitting and ruling on His eternal throne, a throne that does not tremble before the threats and darkness of this world.  We, His faithful, must fight tooth and nail the good fight of our faith until the end, for the battle is not done, and we must confess Christ as King of kings and Lord of lords through His Gospel.  We must continue to proclaim and live out His Gospel Message even in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation! 


IS SATAN SILENCING YOU?
"But Peter and John answered them, 'Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, 20 for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard."' (Acts 4:19-21)

I have observed that often we start our walk with Christ on fire, and suddenly that fire is gone. We share the Good News of Jesus, our Lord, what He has done for us, our joy, and our hope. But often, with the passing of time, we become indifferent, and we care no more. Because of persecution or perhaps because our faith is questioned; maybe because someone has mocked or ridiculed our faith, we are silent and ashamed.  We stop sharing the blessings of redemption with others. We must not allow Satan to get his way! We must speak up about the Lord, the penalty for sin, and the remedy that the Lord has provided. We must share His powerful Gospel of salvation and shout it out from the rooftops to a dark world dying because of sin!

  • Satan Silences Us By Causing Fear In Us:
Let's not be silenced! 

I think about that time when I was diligently seeking my Lord, and He provided someone to share the Good News with me. My friend was not afraid and intimidated by Satan. Had it not been for her determination in doing so, I would not be here and have the convictions Grace has taught me. Thank God for those who will speak up and will not be afraid to proclaim the Good News of salvation no matter what the circumstances may be! Thank God that they did not allow Satan to silence them!

Although God's world rejects God's sovereignty and righteousness and fails to submit to His rule, He is still Lord and King ruling from His mighty throne. Satan cannot thwart God's victory of righteousness, even though he intends to destroy mankind with deceit and lawlessness. We must continue being soldiers of the cross to defeat the evil one and his lawlessness with the Sword of God, the Gospel

  • Our Faith Must Not Waver:

As long as we continue living on this earth as faithful followers of Christ, our battle is not done.  We, the righteous, must keep fighting the good fight of our faith until our last breath. We understand and accept that we have a spiritual war to fight. We must fight that war with God's full armor to be victorious! And though our fight seems difficult, we must still proclaim the Gospel Truth in love no matter how much resistance we face. Our faith must not waver. We must trust in God to help us fight the good fight of faith no matter how vigorously we are attacked or persecuted.

Therefore, we Christians must not compromise our faith and convictions because of pressure and persecution (such as the first century Christians suffered) or out of a desire to conform to this world (Rom. 12:1-2). Jesus warned His disciples, saying, 

"For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels" (Luke 9:26). 


CONCLUSION:

We must stand up for the Truth of God's divine Word even if that involves persecution, being scorned and ridiculed, even put to death. We must keep teaching sinners the Gospel even if Satan shuts our mouths. We must not deny our Lord His Lordship and fail to defend the Gospel Message. We cannot afford to be silent about the riches of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus. God will not allow us to have a silent faith. We must have a speaking faith!

May our Lord give us the courage to speak boldly to those in darkness by drawing them to the Truth and pointing them to the Light of our Lord Jesus. Let's speak of His Grace and hope.  May our Lord help us to never be ashamed of His Testimonies, Precepts, and Statutes, which are life to the dying soul. May we proclaim faithfully and boldly the riches of His Gospel, His power unto salvation for everyone who believes in Him. 

To Him be the glory!

Luci


Wednesday, February 3, 2021

EMPTYING THE CROSS OF ITS POWER

 
"Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory." 
Colossians 3:2-4


When our faith and worship are based on excitement, feelings, and personal beliefs rather than the whole Gospel Message, we’re precisely doing the thing that Paul condemned in 1 Corinthians 1-2. When all we want is coffee, donuts, and barbecues rather than the simple proclamation of God’s Word, we are emptying the cross of its power.  Why?  Because we think that we must soften and change the Message of the cross of its power so that more people will receive it and accept it.  How can we call others to the Gospel without the Message of the cross?  

We must empty ourselves and die to self completely to embrace the Message of the cross and Jesus as our new life.  When we put into practice the words of Colossians 3:2-4, then our lives will be hidden with Christ in God, for Christ is our life and nothing else. But when we are ruled by our emotions, our own prejudices, and beliefs, that is, our own worldview, rather than engaging our minds and having our hearts pricked by the Message of the cross, then we have emptied the cross of its power.

The Gospel is the power of God for salvation (Romans 1:16). Faith comes by hearing the word of Christ (Romans 10:17).  Sadly, those who don’t set their minds on heavenly things want to feel good and have fun rather than face the cutting edge of the Word of God, the only thing that will produce faith and grow our faith.  Nothing else can cut to the very core of our heart than the Word of God! 

"For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart" (Hebrews 4:12).


Likewise, we empty the cross of its power when we make worship about pleasing people with worldly tactics instead of the Word of God.  I must stress that the church is not about one person or people. It must be focused on Jesus and not on ourselves. When we use worldly tactics to make people pay attention to the Message of the cross, we empty the cross of its power.  We cause people to divert their attention and focus away from our Lord. Paul never wanted the attention of men to ever rest on him. To effectively deliver or proclaim the Message of the cross, the Gospel, we don’t need to have a methodology or eloquent speaking skills. The Gospel does not need such carnal skills. In fact, they actually get in the way of the Gospel Message!  

We must be clay jars that hold the treasure of the Gospel. Human brilliance or wisdom is antithetical to the cross of Christ. It messes up the essence and purity of the Gospel and empties the cross of its power.  In doing this, we are showing that we are ashamed of the cross.  Our worship and teaching must not be about ourselves. It must be about pointing others to God alone.  We cannot call people to Jesus without His Message of the cross. 

The world around us makes minimal effort to live by God’s Word.  As a matter of fact, they even scoff at the authority of the Bible.  But for us Christians, we have no other alternative but to submit to the Lordship of Christ and His rule. 

According to our culture, right and wrong are personal preferences, personal ethical standards.  "I say what is right for me."  Thus moral decisions are based on personal feelings or emotions.  According to this way of thinking (moral relativism), there are no absolutes or true beliefs because they are flexible and always changing. The only way we know we are right is by testing everything we do in word and deed with the Word of God.  Rather than depending on our own feelings, views, opinions, habits, or traditionsThis is our sole standard, and we must trust in the Message of the cross and its power.  

May we submit to the Lordship of Christ and His rule rather than on our own feeling, views, opinions, habits, and traditions.  May we never empty the Message of the cross of its power but rather trust in it to point others to God alone for salvation.  And finally, may we always set our minds on heavenly things and engage the Word of God to grow our faith, for it is the only thing that can cut to the very core of our hearts.  

"... For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power" (1 Corinthians 1:13-17).

"Therefore I esteem right all Your precepts concerning everything, I hate every false way" (Psalm 119:128).


Luci


Monday, February 1, 2021

NUMB TO SIN!

 
“Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. 18 They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. 19 They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. 20 But that is not the way you learned Christ!— 21 assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus.” 
Ephesians 4:17-21


Our society has become so desensitized and comfortably numb to sin that they no longer care about the pain and damaging effects of sin.  The more we defy the voice of our conscience, the easier it becomes to sin, forget, and repeat the sin.  When we become comfortably numb or desensitized to sin, our conscience is in danger of falling silent and not feeling the sting of shame.  In  Ephesians 4:19, Paul describes the pagan Gentiles saying, 

“They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity.”  

In 1 Timothy 4:2, Paul speaks of their consciences as “seared with a hot iron.”  


I.   A HARDENED HEART AND A CALLOUSED CONSCIENCE:

Developing a hardened heart and calloused conscience is one of the greatest dangers for Christians.  Indeed, Paul warned us, saying, 

“...  Having their conscience seared with a hot iron” (1 Tim. 4:1-2).  


One man that comes to mind from the Old Testament is found in Exodus 7-9.  He was the Pharaoh, ruler of Egypt.  Not only had Pharaoh hardened his heart, but many of the Egyptians had also hardened theirs (Ex. 14:17-18).  Pharaoh had hardened his heart so much that he refused to know the God of Joseph (Ex. 1:8).  The Egyptians followed his example and were without excuse (Rom. 1:18-32). So how serious or dangerous is it for us to develop a hard heart and a callous conscience?  

  • How Do We Develop a Hardened Heart And a Calloused Conscience?
    • When We know What We Must Do But Resist Doing So:
We can develop a hardened heart and a calloused conscience when we resist doing what we know we must do.  James said it briefly,

“So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin” (James 4:17). 


Every time we resist doing what we know we must do, we run the risk of developing a hardened heart and a seared conscience. Every time we resist doing what we know we must do, we feel less guilty.   It is such a great temptation to every Christian!  Paul exhorted the Jews in Rome concerning this grave issue.  

“Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God's kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? 5 But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God's righteous judgment will be revealed”  (Rom. 2:4-5).  


You see, these “Israelites,” instead of repenting as God intended in response to His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering (2 Pet. 3:9), refused and thus developed a hardened heart.  

    • When We Know We Ought Not to Do Something, But We Do it Anyway:

We can develop a hardened heart and a calloused conscience when we know not to do something but persist in doing it.  Sin is indeed addictive (John 8:34).  Sadly, Christians often get caught up in sins they know are lawless and unrighteous because they don’t allow the Light of the Word to compel them to quit as they ought to (Psa. 119:11). Thus, every time we fail to quit, our sense of guilt diminishes, our heart begins to harden, and our conscience becomes more calloused.  God wants our hearts to be soft and tender.  He wants our hearts and consciences to respond correctly to His will.

Consider the examples of Kings Saul and David.  Saul repeatedly sinned because of his rebellion against God.  His apologies meant nothing.   On the other hand, David sincerely repented and stopped sinning when confronted with his sin and guilt (2 Sam. 11-12; Psa. 51).  Although it is true that we all sin (1 John 1:7-9), do we repent, confess, and change our lives when we sin?  If we fail to do so, our persistence in sin will be detrimental to our souls and have grave consequences!

    • When We Live Hypocritically:

We can develop a hardened heart and a calloused conscience when we live hypocritically.  When we read the accounts of the Gospel of Christ, we immediately observe how the Jewish leaders of Jesus’ day had hardened their hearts and made their consciences callous or numb.  One of the main causes was their hypocrisy.  Jesus rebuked them for their hypocrisy in Matthew 23.   You see, every time we say one thing but live differently, we become hypocrites, hardening our hearts and searing our consciences, leaving them without feeling, as with callouses. One good example is when the parents demand that their children live by one standard, but they themselves live contrary to that teaching. Seeing the inconsistency, the children refuse to do what their parents say or demand. The parents deceive themselves, thinking that they can raise their children with this attitude. Hypocrisy leads to hardened hearts and calloused consciences.

    • When We Judge Hypocritically:

We can develop a hardened heart and a calloused conscience when we judge hyper-critically. Jesus referred to this in Matthew 7:1-5.

“Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. 3 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye.”

We must be careful when we attempt to correct others' faults with hypercriticism, extracting a “speck” while our own vision is hindered by a “beam” protruding from our own eye.  Why?  Because in doing so, we are showing neglect for our own life.  Likewise, we run the risk of hardening our hearts and searing our own consciences.   When our attention is only on the faults of others and not ourselves, we are hypocrites.  David is an excellent example of this when he condemned the rich man from Nathan’s story (2 Sam. 12). David failed to see the exact fault Nathan was addressing to him in his own life while he quickly judged others!

To avoid developing a hardened heart and a calloused conscience, we must allow the Word of God to mold our hardened hearts into tender hearts and consciences (2 Kings 22:19; 2 Chron. 34:27).  When we allow the Word of God to lead us to do what God wants us to do, we will refuse to do what God has said not to do.  In doing this, we may rest assured that we will not live hypocritically, nor will we judge hyper-critically.  We draw closer to God when we do this!


II.   LIVING IN A DESENSITIZED CULTURE:

  • Insensitivity to Sin:

Today we live in a culture that lures people into sin and gradually desensitizes them to God’s moral principles of righteousness.  Our culture is so bound to lawlessness that many grow cold.  Our times are so perverse that many don’t even have natural affection (heartless).

"For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 heartless (no natural affection), unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, 4 treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people."  (2 Timothy 3:2-5)

We Christians must behave steadfastly in our conduct and not follow the worldly crowd. When a people are driven to do as they please without God in the picture, I believe God allows them to spend themselves on continuous sensation-seeking stimulation. The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life virtually run wild!

Our culture has lost its sensitivity to sin.  Sin is tolerated so much that it no longer bothers people’s consciences. They don’t blush anymore (Jeremiah 6:16).  Even the most atrocious sins produce no sensation of conscience and cause no moral discomfort and remorse.  You see, when we allow our conscience to be seared or numb, it no longer stings and is noticeable.   Our consciences become like blisters that turn into callousness.  The Truth does not prick or disturb our consciences as it is designed to do.  Our consciences become little more than an occasional nudge.   When we hear the admonition given to us in Hebrews 2:1, does the warning still give us pause and make us think?

“Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it.”


Just as callused or cauterized skin no longer feels pain, a person’s conscience, his internal “moral umpire,” can also become numb.  When our conscience becomes numb to sin, it no longer feels remorse over doing what we know (or must know) is wrong. You see, repeated sin in our lives injures and dulls our moral sense, just like burns and blisters that give way to a dulled sense of touch.  In Ephesians 4, Paul declares that they have “given themselves over to sensuality.” Sensuality is a rejection of self-discipline that produces shameless, unrestrained behavior.  The more we sear and dull our conscience, the easier it will be to surrender to selfishness and lawlessnessA culture that habitually rejects God and His principles of righteousness becomes numb to sin and can no longer feel any shame about trampling it.  

In Ephesians 4:17-18, Paul addresses the Gentile’s numbness of conscience, stating, 

“Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. 18 They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart.”


Paul attributed the Gentiles’ numbness of conscience to their futility of mind, darkened understanding, ignorance, and hardness of heart. He uses that same language in Romans 1:18-21

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.”


Their numbness of conscience, their futility of mind, darkened understanding, ignorance, and hardness of heart were not the result of an innocent lack of knowledge, for it was willful disregard to God’s Truth. Their hearts were so petrified that they were no longer conscious or aware of sinning.  Indeed, they were totally and shamelessly dominated by sin.  Even their decency and morality were lost and forgotten.  They were given entirely to their fleshly desires without caring whose lives they were injuring and destroying as long as their desires or appetites were satisfied.  Does that not sound familiar in our culture today?  What do you think?

Just like Paul described the people of his time who had become comfortably numb to sin, we live among such people today.  Our people today are like the people in Jeremiah’s day who “refused to be ashamed” and “did not even know how to blush” (Jeremiah 3:3; 6:15).

Consider the serious challenges for Christians living in a world that refuses to be ashamed and who have become comfortably numb to sin.


  • We Must Battle  to Preserve Our Own Conscience:   

Every time we choose to sin, we run the risk of searing our conscience just a little. We may excuse it by saying, “It’s only this once,” but the danger is that once may weaken our conviction enough to make it easier to justify sin the next time.  It gets even more dangerous when our culture treats sin as harmless, even good. 

  1. In our culture, our people no longer feel guilty about lying because everybody lies without hesitation. 
  2. The hearts of modern men and women have become so desensitized to sexual immorality and nakedness that they no longer know how to be decent and godly. 
  3. It’s harder also for their conscience to shout “No!” to sex outside of marriage (in whatever form) because our prevailing culture treats it as something as natural as eating. 
  4. Even those things that we read, listen to, or watch on TV or the big screen can desensitize us to evil if we aren’t careful.

  • The Callousness of Others Causes Pain: 
 When the people around us are “past feeling” to sinful behavior (even if they are not numb to the same extent or things), their behavior will affect their loved ones and us.  There’s no way to avoid it.  Have you ever been hurt because someone did not feel guilty over stealing, spreading slander, getting drunk, or abusing drugs?  A world full of people who are past feeling (numb or desensitized to sin) is a painful place to live!

  • The Challenge of Sharing The Gospel: 
God’s remedy to sin is the Gospel found in the New Testament.  Receiving that Message will be hard for those who have no sense of guilt over sinThe Gospel calls on people to repent, acknowledge their sin and the weight of their guilt, and surrender to the will of God.   That surrender must make God’s Word the only standard by which the conscience is setFor those who live in sin and are comfortably numb to sin, that may be a radical change. Thus the only hope and remedy for sin is to share the Gospel Message with those who have no sense of guilt over sin. Because so many are comfortably numb to sin, sharing the Gospel Message will demand that we have patience, persistence, and courage to be effective.  

  • Modesty In a Desensitized Culture:

We live in a culture desensitized to sin.  

  1. Our culture screams its scenes of sex and licentiousness on billboards, magazines, television, the internet, and movies without shame. 
  2. The growth of pornography and sex trafficking, teen sexting, and increasingly seductive fashions are examples of this problem.  
  3. Modern Western culture has clearly influenced and desensitized Christians, but God’s standard for moral purity and principles of righteousness are still the same (Matthew 5:27-29; Job 31:1; 1 John 2:15-17; Romans 14:13).  
  4. Because men are more prone to struggle against lust via visual temptations, the Bible usually addresses them regarding self-control and sexual immorality.  
  5. Women are usually admonished about modesty and chastity. Sadly, many women today are not taught modesty in the home or at church. It is very sad!


Our young or immature Christians do not understand how immodest clothing can make others “stumble” into sin (Romans 15:1-2; 1 Corinthians 8:9-13).  Men and women must use self-control and discretion, seeking to please and honor God, serving others in purity and wisdomSo should the church address modesty and chastity?  

Our modern culture promotes, “As long as I don’t hurt anyone, I can do what I want—no matter what you think,” but Christians must know better behavior to influence and impact others

  1. Godly modesty and chastity are born from a humble and righteous heart.  It does not provoke unlawful or indecent desires in others.  
  2. Christians must care about how their immodesty affects others.  
  3. Those who are leaders in the church must call them to repent if they insist on rebelling.  
  4. Sadly, many church leaders fail to speak up about immodest dress and unchaste behavior because they fear offending those who are comfortably desensitized to wearing provocative clothing, even in the church. 
  5. Others don’t speak up for fear of negative responses that reflect on them personally. 
  6. Leaders might even be concerned about transcultural differences.  
  7. But the church can’t afford to be silent on this issue just because our modern culture continually drives its immodest agenda


We Christians are the Temple of the Holy Spirit, and therefore we must care for it (1 Corinthians 3:16-17; 6:19-20).  The way we cover our God-given bodies reflects who we worship and whose kingdom we represent. Are we hindering the Gospel’s Message by the way we cover our bodies?  Modesty must become evident throughout the church!  

The church that Jesus purchased with His own blood is called to holiness because God is holy (1 Peter 1:16). 

“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:9).


Spiritually immature and immodest Christians have a hard time understanding the Gospel or how to live it out in all matters of holiness. Church leaders must teach and admonish their brethren about modest behavior and dress. They must help the church examine their hearts with sober judgment (Romans 12:3) and help them imitate Christ rather than draw attention to themselves (Philippians 2:3-4).  

The apostle Paul gave instructions to the early church regarding modesty (1 Timothy 2:9). His focus was on the over-the-top apparel, hairstyles, and jewelry of wealthy women in the church, possibly reflecting worldly lifestyles. Christians must be taught to clothe themselves in humility (1 Peter 5:5-6), righteousness, dignity, and love. Immodest behavior is typically a symptom of a deeper heart issue. 

Sadly, our society has become so desensitized to sexual immorality and nakedness or immodesty, they no longer know what it means to be godly, modest, and decent. The Bible warns us that women are tempted to dress like harlots, and the only alternative is to dress godly, which means that you're afraid to bring shame to your God by the manner of your dress. Immoral dress leads to immoral, sinful living, which brings the wrath of God. 

Indisputably, this is a problem that is making the Lord’s church bleed.  She is hemorrhaging souls.  It is serious and dangerous because it is sinful, distracting, and compromising the cause of Christ.  The church that remains silent on modesty and chastity is diminishing the blood of Christ, His cross, and the work of the church.  Moreover, it deprives, cheats, and deceives God's children, leading them into false doctrine and wrongdoing.  Why not correct, instruct, and teach God's righteousness to those who are disobedient and walking disorderly?!  Let us take heed to God's Word!

"Every scripture inspired of God is also profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction which is in righteousness.  That the man of God may be complete, furnished completely unto every good work."  (2 Tim. 3:16-17)


Do not be deceived.  Modesty is a "God thing."  This character trait aids us as a weapon of defense against various forms of immorality (fornication, adultery).  As those who profess to be followers of Christ, we are responsible for growing as Christians in our character and virtue.  We are also responsible for rejecting everything that is not in harmony with the Word of God.  The apostle Paul admonishes us saying, 
"Prove all things; hold fast that which is good."  (I Thess. 5:21)

CONCLUSION:

Have we become desensitized to the things of God?  

When Jesus ascended to heaven, amazing things were happening.  The early church was expanding, and thousands were obeying the Gospel Message preached to them throughout the known world. These new believers were passionate about their new faith and the spreading and sharing of the Good News, the Gospel.  However, these new Christians were intensely persecuted.  They were even dying for their faith, but the church kept expanding.  The message was spreading all over, and many were humbly responding and surrendering their lives to God without fear as they heard and obeyed the Gospel.  I’ve heard people saying that being a Christian in our nation is, in fact, more difficult than any other nation in the world.  But I wondered if that is true!  Why?  Think for a moment.  We have freedom of speech and religion in our nation.  So how could it possibly be more challenging to be a Christian?  Consider how many countries in this world have Christians martyred for their faith!  Don’t you think these people have it harder than we have it here in our nation?  The answer is a big  YES!

God has blessed us immensely in our nation, for we have the freedom to worship Him as we choose. Yet, as a culture, we are desensitized and comfortably numb to sin and its consequences with little remorse or pain at all.  Even within the church, outright sin has become acceptable.  Obedience to God and His principles of righteousness has morphed into “legalism.” When did it become legalistic to obey God?

We have become so numb to sin, desensitized to sin, and also numb to the things of God as well.  Although God opens many doors for us to share the Gospel with the lost, are we truly brokenhearted for them?  Do we even take advantage of the opportunity to teach those who are numbed by sin the remedy to their sinfulness? Do we share the Gospel with them and live as lights amid so much darkness?  Think about it!

I must admit, many of us have become complacent and lazy in our faith with a heavy heart.

And though we may not be dying for our faith, we surely do not live our faith either, at least not with passion and intensity.   

It’s time to wake up!  It is time to take a stand for our faith and for righteousness.  It is time to fully be obedient to God in all that we do or say, even when it is hard and challenging!  Let us stop wasting our time. Let us stop being comfortably numb to sin and start living godly lives that glorify our Father in heaven!  

There is no doubt in my heart that the day is coming soon in our nation when faithful and devoted Christians will be persecuted for proclaiming God’s Truth and taking a stand for righteousness.  Take heed!  Today is the day of salvation!  Let us follow the early church example, which grew exceedingly despite their many trials and persecutions. They proclaimed the Gospel under fire from the enemy!  You may rest assured God will use those difficult times, even persecution, to His glory. History has revealed this time and time again. Be grateful and encouraged that even in trying times, God is still in control.  If we endure to the end faithful to God, spreading the Gospel to the lost, He will be glorified and will reward us greatly.  Remember that our labor in the Lord is never in vain (1 Cor. 15:58).  

Our minds and hearts are so affected by this world that we have become desensitized to unrighteousness, lawlessness. Don’t be deceived.  Our minds are affected! When we adapt our minds to this world’s lawlessness, even if we are not directly participating in it, we are still, to some degree, adapting to our culture’s deviant perspectives.  Have we forgotten that we must not love the world, for all that is in the world will be burned up with the ungodly?   All that our eyes can see will dissolve.  Remember, “what manner of persons ought we be in holy conduct and godliness?”  Since this world is passing away, we must make sure that we are walking in holiness and godliness, preparing for the next world, heaven.  

When we feed our fleshly appetites, our conscience forms a callous.  We become complacent in our way of living.  The sins that we commit don’t cause us pain anymore.  We must take a frequent inventory of what we are allowing to enter our hearts, especially since we live in a society without conscience, numb to sin!  

  1. Does it matter to us what we watch on TV or the big screen?  Remember that such things will affect our minds and hearts. We run the risk of becoming comfortably numb to sin, that is, desensitized to sin. 
  2. Do we watch or care at all about the words we hear or speak? 
  3. Do we not flinch?   
  4. Are we cautious about our practices, procedures, and the standards we use when we do business?
  5. Has it become more comfortable not to speak the truth?  
  6. Have we allowed our conscience to become bitter and doubtful?   

As Christians, we must examine ourselves and never lose our edge.  Do we feel pain by all that we see around us?  Does sin no longer hurt us? If sin does not bring pain to our hearts, why not take a moment to remind ourselves of the high price our Lord and Savior had to pay to free us from the bondage of sin?  Why not pray and ask God’s help that you might overcome sin and its shame?  Remember that our sins will find us out!   

We live in a world of cause and effect. Our choices (both good and bad) always have drastic consequences that are not always consistent.  Two people can commit the same sin and experience two different results.   The truth is, our sins do find us out. But our sins do not always find us out in the same way or within the same frame of time. Paul stated, 

“The sins of some people are conspicuous, going before them to judgment, but the sins of others appear later” (1 Timothy 5:24).  


Many deceive themselves, thinking that they have gotten away with sin because the consequences are not immediate and visible.  The sad truth is that some of sin’s greatest consequences often go undetected. They are not visible and detected by the one who is sinning because his conscience is seared (Hebrews 9:14), his mind is clouded by darkness (Matthew 5:22-23), his heart is gradually calloused by sin (Matthew 13:15), and because he doesn't care about the destiny of his soul.   

The good news is that we can “resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).  It implies that if we don’t resist him, he will keep hanging around. The devil is indeed cunning.  He doesn’t always present the seductive measures of sin in big packages. He may present them in small, cleverly decorated forms as attractive gifts filled with interesting things. Thus they’re hard to resist. Ask Eve.  Ask David.  Ask Peter. Ask anybody. We’ve all had our moments!  Don’t you think?   

How easy it is to minimize the danger and seriousness of sin.  We are prone to tolerate rather than resist. We even categorize our sins as “big sins” and “little sins.”  We rationalize our sins as not as bad as others.  Self-justification is one of the most subtle tools of Satan. But sin is sin! And “The soul who sins shall die” (Ezekiel 18:20).  

Therefore, let us be very careful not to tolerate sin around us, for if we tolerate sin by not opposing it, we will lose the disquieting pangs of conscience.  Let us, from a sincere heart, grow up and mature in Christ, to His stature.  Let us remove our blisters and calluses.  Instead of developing hardened hearts and calloused consciences, let us allow the Word of God to become active in our lives so that we can mold tender hearts and consciences (2 Kings 22:19; 2 Chron. 34:27).  Let us obey God and do what He says and refuse to do what He prohibits.   In doing this, we may rest assured that we will not live hypocritically, nor will we judge hypocritically.   It is the only way to draw closer to God!  

Since our manner of living matters, let us show the excellency of Christ in our lives.  God wants us to have tender hearts sensitive to His Spirit. May we not become hardened by sin, but rather may we encourage one another as long as it is today.  May God be glorified in all that we do or say.  

Because of Jesus’ sacrifice and death on the cross, there is good news for those who have sinned. The precious and saving blood of Jesus, our Lord, will purify and justify sinners in the eyes of God when they obey the Gospel and are baptized for the remission of their sins.  For the unfaithful child of God, the blood of Jesus will cleanse him from sin through repentance and confession of sins and by fervent prayer. When the faithful Christian sins, he goes to God continually in prayer and supplication, humbly recognizing his continuing need for direction from God and His principles of righteousness.  He does this because he wants to remain steadfast and strives to exercise godliness and holiness.

May we never minimize the danger and seriousness of sin.  May we never allow our minds and hearts to be affected by this world, to which we have become desensitized to unrighteousness, lawlessness.  May we take a frequent inventory of what we allow to enter our hearts.   May we never become desensitized to the things of God.  May we remain faithful and strive to exercise godliness and holiness in our lives, going to God in constant and fervent prayer, recognizing our continuing need for Him and His principles of righteousness.  And finally, may we never resist doing what we must know and do because of a hardened heart and a calloused conscience.


Luci


Friday, January 22, 2021

PSALM 90: THE FRAILTY OF MAN AND THE ETERNITY OF GOD

 

"LORD, you have been our dwelling place in all generations.  2 Before the mountains were brought forth,  or ever you had formed the earth and the world,  from everlasting to everlasting you are God.  3 You return man to dust and say, ‘Return, O children of man!' 4 For a thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday when it is past, or as a watch in the night.  So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom... '" 
Psalm 90


Lately, I have had Psalm 90 on my mind thinking about the brevity of life after the passing of loved ones, brethren, and family.  Death seems to be all around us.  People close to me are dying of COVID-19 and other natural causes, but also by accident and suicide, both young and old.  It is alarming!  As I meditate on this Psalm, I realize that we must walk in the shadow of death from the day we are born.  Man must return to the dust from which he was made.

"By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return" (Gen. 3:19).  

God moves us in a flash through this earthly life into a final sleep.  We are quickly born, and we quickly die.  Although everything in life is controlled by time, God is not constrained by such things.   We human beings are here one day and gone tomorrow. We are like new grass that sprouts up but withers quickly under the heat of the sun. Our lives here on earth are indeed short.  Our lives are like morning and evening against the eternal nature of God. We would like to think that we can live our lives as if there was no end, but such a way of thinking is foolish.  

Psalm 90 is the oldest Psalm and was written by Moses as a prayer to God.   According to Psalm 90:10, our life span is 70 years and 80 years if we are strong. Yet such years are full of toil and trouble. But soon, our days are gone, and we are here no more.  None of us like to think about the brevity of life. However, God wants to remind us of life’s purpose.  He wants us to be mindful that our time is short and that we must serve Him faithfully while still alive.  He will hold us accountable for our actions.  Psalm 90 compels us to be sober and examine our lives.  This Psalm describes the frailty of mankind and his reason to acknowledge that God is eternal and man is not.  Why?  Because God resides outside the boundaries of time, which control and rule man’s thinking.  

In James 4:14, we are reminded that our life is just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Thus, we must meditate on life’s brevity and our purpose in life according to God’s will. We must number our days so that we may learn to live wisely.  How often do people neglect their families, believing that they have plenty of time in the future to enjoy them?  How often do people fail to seek God, thinking that they can return to Him later, but it turns out that it is too late? How often do we plunge ourselves into sinful living, thinking that there will always be time to repent?  

I encourage you to read and meditate on Jesus’ parable of the rich fool in Luke 12. When we deceive ourselves, thinking that we have a whole life ahead of us, we behave just like the rich fool who was just concerned about “building bigger barns.” Little did he know that God was going to claim his soul that same night. Hence, let us examine our hearts, for our lives are short here on earth.  We must make the most of our time, taking advantage of every opportunity to draw closer to God and serve Him faithfully.  It is a grave mistake to assume that we have tomorrow, for we have been promised only today.  Today is the day of salvation.  Think about it!

I have chosen Psalm 90 in my study because it is unique.  This Psalm is attributed to Moses (Exodus 15; Deuteronomy 32). It has been suggested that this Psalm was written because of Moses’ painful events in life. (1) The death of Miriam, (2) Moses’ sin of striking the rock, and (3) The death of Aaron.  Moses lost his sister, brother, and the right to enter the Promised Land because of his sin.  I don’t doubt that his circumstances compelled him to reflect on them and pray to God.   

I hope you enjoy Psalm 90 as you study with me and meditate on it.  May God richly bless you as a result.


I.   THE ETERNAL GRANDEUR OF GOD:  (90:1-2)

LORD, you have been our dwelling place in all generations.  2 Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world,  from everlasting to everlasting you are God.” 

  • God is Our Dwelling Place:

Moses' prayer song begins with a recognition of God, acknowledging that God is our refuge and the dwelling place for His people in every generation.  God is the Supreme Ruler of heaven and earth.  Moses led the nation of Israel for forty years through the wilderness with God as their permanent home.  Through God, Israel found life, protection, and hope.  God was their dwelling place, and He is ours as well.  Moses praises God for His eternal nature, for He is our eternal Creator (verse 2).  God is the Creator of the mountains, the earth, and the world.  He brought His creation into existence to accomplish His eternal purpose.  He stands behind them as the eternally-present One.  He travails in birth over them, and He fathers them. He is self-existent and self-sustaining.  He is the all-powerful One, for He is from the infinite past to the infinite future.  

Since He lives above time, He dwells in the eternal present.  Such beauty is more than words can express!   It is hard for mankind to fathom God’s eternal grandeur because life on earth is defined by time.  Our frail and temporal character is more vivid when we contrast it with God's eternal character.  From eternity to eternity, there is no beginning or end to God. Since God is eternal, He sees it all and knows what is best for us.  


II.   THE FRAILTY OF MANKIND:  (90-3-12)

You return man to dust and say, ‘Return, O children of man!’  4 For a thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday when it is past, or as a watch in the night.  5 You sweep them away as with a flood; they are like a dream, like grass that is renewed in the morning:  6 in the morning it flourishes and is renewed; in the evening it fades and withers.  7 For we are brought to an end by your anger; by your wrath we are dismayed.  8 You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light of your presence.  9 For all our days pass away under your wrath; we bring our years to an end like a sigh.  10 The years of our life are seventy, or even by reason of strength eighty; yet their span is but toil and trouble; they are soon gone, and we fly away.  11 Who considers the power of your anger, and your wrath according to the fear of you?  12 So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.”’

  • From the Day We Are Born, We Live Under The Shadow Of Death:  (Verse 3
In the Garden of Eden, God declared that man must return to the dust from which his body was fashioned (Gen. 3:19).  Man must yield to God’s sentence to “return” to the dust.  God’s decree is part of His judgment after Adam’s sin.  And though Adam’s sin was not passed on to his children (his spiritual guilt), his physical death was.  Mankind carries the burden of mortality because of Adam’s sin.

"For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead"  (1 Cor. 15:21).


  • God’s Eternal Nature Is Contrasted With Man’s Frailty:  (Verse 4)  
Though God endures forever, we must return to the dust.  
“For a thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday when it is past, or as a watch in the night.”

Time is inconsequential to God. Although our lives are controlled by time, God is not constrained by such.  Our work, our sleep, our meals: everything in life is completely controlled by time. That is precisely Moses’ statement. And though a thousand years seem immense to us, it is meaningless to God.  The apostle Peter made the same statement in 2 Peter 3:8.

“But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.”


Both Moses and Peter help us to grasp the eternal nature of God. God is not bound or constrained by time. Peter’s point is that man must not be deceived into thinking that God is slow concerning His promises, for He is not bound by time. God does not operate within such time constraints. God is eternal, and we can not expect Him to act quickly on our behalf, simply because our lives are short. Moses contrasts man’s nature of being bound by time against God’s eternal character not bound by time.

  • Man’s Temporal Nature:  (Verses 5-6)

“5 You sweep them away as with a flood; they are like a dream, like grass that is renewed in the morning:  6 in the morning it flourishes and is renewed; in the evening it fades and withers.”


We, humans, are here one day and gone tomorrow.  Our lives are brief here on earth.  Moses uses three metaphors to illustrate the brevity of life. 

    • A flood:

“5 You sweep them away as with a flood.”


It means to be flooded away.  Man’s life on earth is hurried as a house is tragically carried away by the rising waters of a flood.  The flood comes, destroys, devastates, and speeds away.  

    • Dream or Sleep:

“They are like a dream.”


In other translations, it says, “They fall asleep.”  God moves us in a flash from this life into a final sleep.  Man is quickly born and quickly dies.  

    • Grass:

“Like grass that is renewed in the morning. 6 in the morning it flourishes and is renewed; in the evening it fades and withers.”


Man is born, lives, and dies in the same way that the grass “sprouts,” living a cycle of life.  The grass bursts into life but is wilted under the burning sun.  Grass has a momentary lifespan.  In the same way, our lives are short at their longest because of our frail earthly existence.  We are like new grass that sprouts up, but under the heat, it quickly dies. Moses uses the image of morning and evening. Our lives are short, like a morning and evening against God’s eternal nature. Life breaks into this world at birth (‘in the morning.”)  It grows vigorously, but with a blink of the eye, “evening” comes.  With “evening,” life fades, withers, and dies.  We deceive ourselves when we think we have an eternity of life here on earth.  We live our lives as if there is no end.  That is pure foolishness!  

  • Dismayed By God’s Wrath:  (Verses 7-9)

“7 For we are brought to an end by your anger; by your wrath we are dismayed.  8 You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light of your presence.  9 For all our days pass away under your wrath; we bring our years to an end like a sigh.”


Moses continues this Psalm with the frailty of mankind because of sin.  Our sins are linked to death.  After speaking of our mortality, he goes on to talk about the frailty of humanity in light of our sins. Our mortality traces back to judgment for our sins. Our sins stand before God. Our hidden sins are exposed in God’s presence. God is aware of our sins!  Our sins are evident to Him.  Because of our iniquities, we live under God’s cloud of wrath.  God’s righteousness judges our sins.  God’s condemnation of sin dismays or terrifies us.  Who can stand before God’s righteousness?   

God’s wrath takes its toll on us.  

“9 For all our days pass away under your wrath; we bring our years to an end like a sigh.”


Our sins turn our songs into sobs.  Our lives begin with crying (the cry of a baby) and end with sighing.


  • The Brevity Of Our Lives:  (Verse 10)

“10 The years of our life are seventy, or even by reason of strength eighty; yet their span is but toil and trouble; they are soon gone, and we fly away.”


Moses tells us that man’s life span ranges in length, possibly to 70 years of life.  Some are expected to live 80 years if they are strong or healthy. Yet these years of life are nothing but toil and trouble. Our days are soon gone, and we fly away.   The longer we live, the harder life becomes.  And though we might not like to think about the brevity of life, God wants us to be mindful that there is more to life, eternity.  We must be mindful that our time to serve God is short and that He will hold us accountable for what we have done with our lives.  God will judge us according to our actions or works.  

“Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away(James 4:14).


  • Seeking God’s Wisdom:  (Verses 11-12)
    • “Teach Us to Number our Days” 

“11 Who considers the power of your anger, and your wrath according to the fear of you?  12 So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.”’


Verse 11 is a two-part question.  
  1. To understand the fear of God, we must grasp the depths of God’s righteousness.  Only those who are holy and acknowledge the depth of God’s judgment against sin can understand the dimensions of God’s wrath.  
  2. And no matter how tarnished and broken man might be, he must depend on God's wisdom.

Verse 12 constrains us to think about the brevity of life. 

“12 So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.”


We must number our days to learn wisdom and live wisely. We are foolish when we think we have all the time in the world to live.  With this mindset, we make foolish and wicked decisions, neglect our families, assuming we have loads of time in the future to enjoy them.  We ignore God, thinking that we can return to Him later, thus losing our soul for eternity. We plunge ourselves into sinful living, assuming we have plenty of time to repent.  But we forget Jesus’ parable of the rich fool in Luke 12.  We behave like the rich fool when we think we have our whole lives ahead of us to do as we please.  The rich fool was concerned only about “building bigger barns.” Little did he know that very night his life would be required of him. Since our lives are short, we must make the most of the time God has granted us, taking advantage of our opportunities to draw closer to Him. We must never assume that we have tomorrow, for we are promised only today.  


III.   SEEKING GOD’S FAVOR:  (90:13-17)
"13 Return, O LORD! How long?  Have pity on your servants!  14 Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.  15 Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us, and for as many years as we have seen evil.  16 Let your work be shown to your servants, and your glorious power to their children.  17 Let the favor of the LORD our God be upon us,  and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands!"

  • Moses Prays For God's Mercy: (Verse 13)
In the final section of this Psalm, Moses prays for God’s mercy as he contemplates man’s fragility.  He asks God to return his favor to him and the people. His petition carries the concept of repentance.  

“13 Return, O Lord! How long?  Have pity on your servants!”


God is merciful to the humble in heart who repents from sin.  But God’s favor and mercy toward His people are conditional, for it depends on our obedience to Him.  Although God cannot repent, He can return to His people because of His abundant mercy.  

  • God's Steadfast Love:  (Verse 14)

"14 Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days."


Verse 14 is a request centered around God’s steadfast love. Moses’ first request to God was to seek and gain wisdom to number our days. His second request is to be satisfied with God’s faithful love. Apart from God’s lovingkindness, no peace can come to us.  Only God (seeking Him) can fill the void that we try to fill in our lives.  Only He can give us spiritual wholeness.  God’s restoration (the “morning” of grace) brings joy and gladness in its wake.  Sadly, many use possessions and wealth to try to fill the void in their lives. But there can only be fulfillment with God. Trying to find happiness and satisfaction in other places will leave us empty. 

Christians must be different from the world, especially when we want to find satisfaction or fulfillment. We must not behave like the world and the ungodly when we seek joy. Our joy and our satisfaction must be in the Lord. We show our joy by worshipping God, delighting in God’s Word, and fervent prayer. But when our focus is placed in the wrong places (worldly activities, sports, social media, work, or anything else thrown our way to make us stumble), we find it difficult to find our satisfaction in the Lord.  Only in God can we find joy, healing, fullness, peace, and fellowship. 


  • Establish The Work of Our Hands:  (Verses 15-17)

"15 Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us, and for as many years as we have seen evil.  16 Let your work be shown to your servants, and your glorious power to their children.  17 Let the favor of the LORD our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands!"

Moses’ final request to God (verses 15-17) is for Him to establish the work of their hands. This places a responsibility on our part to live in such a way to receive God’s approval (favor) for our actions and to establish our works. 

In verse 15, Moses expresses his years of suffering and those around him.  So he prays.

"15 Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us, and for as many years as we have seen evil."

As he prays, he seeks joy and healing to commensurate with the past's sorrows and evils.  

In verse 16, God’s Grace reveals the nature and greatness of His heart.  They go hand in hand.  

"16 Let your work be shown to your servants, and your glorious power to their children."


The writer asks God to take action:  visible and obvious.  He does not doubt seeing God’s amazing wonders from His hand.  He acknowledges this truth because of how God has worked through them in the past.  So he pleads to God to show His glorious power to them.  His glory and majesty shine through His gracious deeds.  

Moses’ prayer ends with a double appeal to God’s “favor.”  

"17 Let the favor of the LORD our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands!"

Moses yearns for God’s approval to rest upon His people through His enduring works.  The word “favor” is translated as “graciousness,” “loving favor,” “sweetness,” or “pleasantness.”  God’s favor is the same as His tender kindness. We cannot ask God to uphold and establish our lives while we live in sin.  We cannot ask God to approve our works while we fail to seek Him diligently and His ways above our own. 

Moses was a great example of seeking God and His ways above his own. 
  1. Moses suffered to please God and have His approval.  
  2. He left the riches of Egypt to live in the wilderness of Midian. 
  3. Moses suffered the scorn of his own people, whom he was trying to deliver from slavery. 
  4. Moses endured the criticism of his people and their attempt to murder him as he led them through the desert to the land of Canaan. 
  5. But Moses was established by God because he trusted completely in God through their victories and difficulties.

CONCLUSION:

In Psalm 90:4, the writer states that a thousand years in the sight of God are like yesterday or a watch in the night. God returns man back to the dust from which he came, for man is frail and fragile before Him. According to verse 8, God knows us intimately, and nothing gets past God’s observation, not even our secret or hidden sins. We are an open book before God that lies completely transparent before Him!  God knows us and our motivation of heart. It is impossible to fool God!  Though we might fool and deceive others, God will not be fooled. Moses makes two vital points in verses 9-10.  

  1. Our lives are lived out as we age, and our power, thinking, and abilities surrender to old age, and our years are finished with just a sigh.  
  2. Our lifespan may be 70-80 years, but they are soon gone and fly away. 


Our Psalm compels us to number our days to get a heart of wisdom (Psalm 90:11-12).  Mankind must acknowledge that time is precious.  It is indeed a great truth that was retaught by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount. We must redeem the time, living one day at a time to get a heart of wisdom.  I call it a day’s boundary.  We live in the day, meet God in the day, and make our impact for Him in the day. Thus we must refuse to live in yesterday, the past, or tomorrow, for we must live in today to meet our God.  

Life is short, and God wants us to be glad all our days.  He wants us to be satisfied, filled with joy and gladness as we live out our lives before Him (Psalm 90:13-17).  When God dwells in us, that is, we make God our home, we enter into a cherished relationship with Him, basking in His presence always.  We partake of God’s goodness as He guides us and provides for us.  A home with God is a place of sustenance where He nurtures us and leads us.  God becomes our supreme priority when we dwell with Him.  When we allow Him to dwell in us, God fills our minds and hearts throughout the day and evening falls.  

God is our beginning, continuance, and ending.  We live and die in and with Him!  God, the eternal One, is our forever home.  Only by making God our dwelling home can we make our home eternal.  We become timeless and everlasting as He is everlasting.  Life does not begin to exist until God starts dwelling in us!  God must be our home and abiding place.  He is the only certainty that exists!  (Psalm 90:3-6).

Jesus, our Lord, came to show us the Father (John 14:6).  He taught us how the Father is and why we must be in His likeness.  Jesus came to earth to help us find the Father, live in His presence, and become like Him.  Jesus came to show us how to yearn to live in His Truth, Grace, provisions, and likeness.  So we must reflect on our journey here on earth and what God demands of us.  Remember that God will satisfy us IF we love and obey Him. The choice is simple: are we in a funeral march, or are we going home to the heavenly Father? The answer to that question will determine our joy quota in life.  Do we fathom that life is limited in length?  (Psalm 90:5-10).   Our lives have limitations, and one of them is length.  We may live seventy or 90 years, but that is all!  

When we compare our lives to eternity, we find out that life is short.  Thus we must ask God to help us count our days with a heart of wisdom to make the best of our time here on earth (Psalm 90:12).  Indeed, this world is not our home, but God is.  We don’t know what tomorrow might bring.  We cannot claim ownership of anything, nor do we have any control over time.  We must recognize these truths to live wisely in anticipation of eternity.  Those who ignore these truths are foolish and have no purpose in life.  Their end is destruction and a life separated from God eternally.  

Sin brings sorrow to life, but when we make God our refuge, destruction, disease, and even the explosion of our universe cannot harm us. Grace and Truth came through Jesus (John 1:17).  Those who love and obey God will be His recipients of Grace.  But those who rebel against Him will be judged by God’s righteousnessThe Truth of the Gospel is that Jesus left the Godhead, choosing to leave eternity to be our Savior.  He chose to become time-bound to bring us to heaven, for only the eternal God can impart the eternal life that man craves.  But man must hide himself in God to find His love and timelessnessTherefore today is the day of salvation!

God does not see the length of our years but our quality of life.  He does not focus on time (Ps. 90:4).  He does not see our faces but our hearts (1 Samuel 16:7).  God is seeking those who have a pure and righteous heart so that they can become like Him (2 Chron. 16:9).  The heart is what God sees, for the heart is the mainspring of life.  God wants to know our hearts’ motives and intentions.  He also looks at our spiritual accomplishments and ambitions.  God wants our complete devotionHe wants an attitude of victory despite our fears.  He looks at our hearts to see our faithfulness and trust in His promises as we move into tomorrow.  

God saves us through His Grace and our obedient faith to Him.  He blesses us according to our works, our quality of life, our hearts’ purity, our spiritual aspirations, not our years, our beautiful faces, and our earthly ambitions. God knows us intimately, and nothing gets past God’s observation, not even our secret sins.  God is the source of our satisfaction, joy, and gladness, so we must always serve Him faithfully.  Let us be compelled to always seek God’s favor in all that we do or say.

Psalm 90 is about the power of God and His patience. And though at times God chastises us, He is often patient and longsuffering with us. He is patient (longsuffering) because He loves us and does not count time the way we do. He is never rushed or in a hurry as we are.  

“But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. 9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance”  (2 Peter 3:8-9).


God’s concept of time is beyond our limitations, for time constraints do not bind Him. Our lives are measured by minutes, days, or years. When God created all things, He announced that the morning and the evening were the first day and then the second. Although He gave us time measures as part of the creation, He is not bound by them.  What a blessing this is! God is patient with us. Even when we want to give up on ourselves or others, God is willing to give us time to get things right in our lives so that we may have a dwelling place and be in fellowship with Him.  

May we never take for granted God’s patience but rather seek Him and choose to be in His likeness until He calls us home.   May we always be grateful for His lovingkindness and patience toward us.  May we slow down our lives and learn to count our days with a heart of wisdom, learning to be patient.  May we enjoy each day God has given us and not worry about tomorrow.  May we always walk in the favor of God so that our deeds may glorify Him.  May we always make our time count (work, family, friends, pursuits, sleep, rest, worship, and prayer), for our time here on earth is limited.  May we always redeem the time, knowing that our time is limited and God will hold us accountable for the time He has given us.  May we make the most of every opportunity (Eccl. 9:10; Eph. 5:16), for time is a limited resource.  May we receive every moment, every minute as a gift from God, and live in the present, not yesterday or tomorrow.  Finally, may we always remember that our days are numbered, so we must manage our time well.  The days are evil, so we must be careful how we live, making our time count, both now and eternity. 

Walk as children of light 9 (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), 10 and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. 13 But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, 14 for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, ‘Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.’  15 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.’”  (Ephesians 5:8-17)


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