Psalms 107: The Four Redemptions

Psalms 107: The Four Redemptions

Psalms 107 depicts four instances of people receiving redemption, or deliverance from distresses. And in each instance, the people have cried out to God for help.

Hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted in them; then they cried unto the Lord in their trouble . . .  (verse 5 & 6).

The people were nearly dying from their stubbornness and hard labor and had no one to help (prisoners were in affliction and iron) . . . then they cried unto the Lord (verses 10-13).

Fools because of their sins at gates of death . . . cried unto the Lord (verse 17-19).

A distressed boat was in a strong sea, and the people cried unto the Lord (v. 23-26).

And the psalmist intercedes with, O that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men. And the Psalm concludes in verse 43 to be observant and understand the loving-kindness of the Lord. Psalm 107 is thought to be the first psalm in the last of five books of psalms, ending at Psalm 150.

Know also God’s Son Jesus, who because we are prone to error and are terminal, lives forevermore and took our sins to the cross to give us a new life.

Nabal’s Legacy

I often think of Nabal and his unfortunate legacy of being ungracious towards King David in 1 Samuel 25. I mean, he made a good argument and died anyway.

“Who is David? Shall I . . . give unto men whom I know not from where they are?” (1 Samuel 25: 11).

He was described as evil and worthless, yet in 1 Samuel 25: 2, he was also great, with three thousand sheep and a thousand goats, and had need of no one other than his laborers.

But David comes along and forces him to give food to his men, and befriends his wife Abigail. Then Nabal dies about ten days later, which is all rather suspect to me.

The author of First Samuel is unknown but had particular knowledge of the priest Samuel, David, and Saul.

But Nabal’s legacy as a disrespectful man lives on — though he did nothing to mar his worldly success, by the scriptures.

Consider Jesus, the Son of God whose legacy and personal testimony by witnesses lives on.

Know that Jesus the Son of God died for our sins, and by his sacrifice, enables us to live rich and happy lives – despite other men’s legacies.

 

The Label of Goodness

 

I stopped by a store and talked to a sister in Tabor City who writes devotions on the Internet and attends New Horizon’s church on Route 410, and we talked about a “good person”.

“But does he know Jesus?” she asked.

I thought about Matthew 19 where Jesus is being called “good” by a young rich ruler. And Jesus responded and said, “Why callest thou me good? There is none good but one, that is: God . . . “; Matt. 19 17.

Of course the young man already knew what was good, but maybe he was trying to elevate Jesus to another stature – but Jesus knew his strength and power came from being lowly and humble to his Heavenly Father.

Consider the label “good”, but also consider Jesus, who annulled labels by giving himself as a sacrifice for sin, for any person.

Jesus makes the difference in knowing what is good, what is sin, and what is salvation to allow the Holy Spirit to move upon faithful dispositions from God.

Here is where our treasure should be: “Fear not little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom”; Luke 12: 32.

 

 

Glory Unknown

I stopped by the Tabor City antique’s shop and showed Sherry a picture of a rock wall I had recently built that glorified Jesus. Said I built one around thirty years also but around a church sign in the mountains.

“I’ve seen that wall, got pictures of it,” she said.

That raised my curiosity. “At the foot of a mountain,” I asked

“Yep, on the left side of the road going down.”

I had made a cross of milky like quartz rocks in the middle of the unpatterned fieldstone on the mountain and valley sides of the planter (there’s a cross on each side of life you know).

Christ, who planted seeds of God’s love for good works did not always know where they would land, but sent his disciples out to the lost people of society (Matt. 10: 6).

It is God that chooses his disciples (Romans 9, Ephesians 2). And he has mercy on whom he has mercy.

Jesus was faithful to perform his mission and die for the people’s sins.

We should be so faithful to plant holy seeds for the new generations and show them the way to find Jesus, find God, and perform righteous and holy works. Without such examples of work, they have no visible hope of what God accomplishes by faith and works.

The Bottom Pew

A four member band gently played an invitational song titled “Oh, How he loves me” from a perch in back of an altar while an old man slowly made his way to the front and kneeled down, and tears began to pour from his face of being a former drug addict.

The band’s music slowed for compassion and acknowledgement of his piety, and then a woman testified about Jesus helping her when her young son had died a few years ago, and she sang a beautiful solo.

Then a young man claimed everything was going wrong but now he was letting go –and letting God.

Thank God for Free Ministry and the church, where witnesses of God testify about their faith.

But there was no one here from worldly power. No. Just ordinary people testifying about Jesus and singing praises to his name.

Consider that places of pride and personal power do not find Christ Jesus.

The ruler Nicodemus tried, in John 3 – though finding Jesus when it was dark didn’t seem to understand repentance and humbleness are the first steps towards finding God’s kingdom.

Jesus had said, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God (John 3: 3).

Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 18: 3).

Only then, can a person receive the power of God and enter into heaven.

The Legion Request

The Legion Request

 

One of the most pronounced sentences in the Bible is when Jesus confronts a crazy man and the crazy man says, “My name is Legion; for we are many” (Mark 5: 9).

(The devil always wants to include others in his diabolical state: Never would he want to face Jesus alone because of righteous and holy discipline!)

But, he, when he was in the flesh, came and wanted to worship Jesus.

Then all the devils couldn’t stand this holy word of God so they went out and entered a herd of swine and ran down into a pool of water and choked to death.

Then the crazy man had peace – and published Jesus throughout the Decapolis area. The owners of the swine weren’t too pleased however because of all the ruckus being caused by the stampede and loss of animals.

Consider the possessed man but also Jesus, who gave the time and thought of day to free the man of unclean spirits.

This is what Jesus can do by faith and belief – and when he seems “afar off”, as the possessed man looked down from the mount to the living Savior walk onto dry land from the water’s edge.

The Gnat or the Camel?

Matthew 23: 24 can be puzzling about a person swallowing a camel but looking at the order of words in the Greek may give some insight because the word “camel” is a noun followed by its verb “swallowing”.

The sentence takes on a different meaning, with the “camel swallowing”.

Jesus was talking to scribes and Pharisees — condemning them for tithing their load of spices in the temple but not practicing “the weightier matters” of the law — mercy, faith, and righteousness.

Jesus compared their actions with leaders that were blind — and the straining of a gnat, which I assume to be like straining out residue through a sieve, such as what was used to clean wine — and contrasted this action with a camel swallowing.

Well, a camel has to have water, and looking at the Greek word for swallowing means to “gulp” or “drink”.  Maybe the parable means the leaders were more worried about getting the bugs out of the way rather than give attention to the camel that gives rides and transports goods.

Whatever the interpretation, consider Jesus, who was familiar with unrighteous offerings at the temple and the need to get right.

Matthew 23 condemns men of authority who make false decrees, fail to live by their words, and swears by money to fix things rather than swear by the maker of the gold and the temple who sanctifies them.

But Jesus gives them hope: For I say unto you, “Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.”

Acknowledge error and seek the Lords’ will, he might have said.

Jesus is our hope, and our attitude should be of deep humility in front of a righteous God who made the law and the Savior who saves people from false decrees.

The moon was visible over the trees at sunset when vultures flew in circles looking for prey in the woods on a clear day recently.

I sat in my car and watched and thought about Leviticus 11 where God told man not to eat anything unclean that has died of itself – and how it should not be touched.

But the vultures are exempt from this law and they will clean up the residue. They have their place in the world.

But surely it was a sad thing for vultures to be around dead saints at the destruction of Jerusalem as the psalmist described in Psalms 79: 2. And he prayed for God’s vengeance.

And then there are vultures in Deuteronomy 28: 26 — where if a person has disobeyed God’s commandments, he or she may become a victim and no man will be able to shoo them away, such as what Abraham did after he laid down pieces of meat at God’s request to receive a 400 year decree in Genesis 15.

But consider Jesus, whose body was entombed and saved from vultures, and when Mary appeared and in consideration of the law, said, “Touch me not”! (John 10: 17).

Later he arose into heaven and appeared to two men and opened their understanding about he was to rise into heaven and save people from their sins. And Thomas was allowed to touch him (John 20: 27).

He continues to give understanding and great joy by repentance and remission of sins today and throughout the world (Luke 24: 47).

The Church Pact

The beginning of “the church” is when Jesus and Peter had a conversation in Matthew 16: 13-19 and both men received a confirmation.

But who ye say ye that I am?” Jesus asked Peter.

Peter answered and said, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God”.

Well, that took care of Jesus being the foundation of the church but it still took someone like Peter who was doubtful at times and unbelieving to participate in the church, and Jesus knew this beforehand.

When Peter refused to accept Jesus’ forthcoming death, Jesus knew the devil was still in Peter and Jesus told him that he (Peter) was following the things of men rather than God in verse 22-23.

Jesus had also exclaimed that his church  would be built upon Peter. (In my opinion – upon the character traits of the doubtful Peter).

But the church is alive, and the meeting where three thousand souls were saved in Acts 2: 41-47 confirmed that the Spirit was moving among the people to honor and worship the resurrected Christ.

Consider the church, but also a personal relationship with Jesus Christ who built the church (Eph. 1: 22-23).

Many antagonists have tried to shut down both, but the doors to God’s temple are always open as the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it . . . and [its gates] shall not be shut at all by day; for there shall be no night there (Rev. 21: 22-25).

The Decoration

Looking out onto a field of green grass from a high elevation in the springtime reveals plants and tree blossoms with colorful flowers like a king decorated with royal apparel.

But Solomon, in all his glory, as Jesus described in Matthew 6: 29, could not dress as good as God does the earth, describing the lilies and their beauty.

They did nothing to be adorned: it was the work of the Creator’s sunshine, rain, and nutrition. Put man’s hand to it, and the flowers look out of place.

No. The earth should be unspoiled and holy.

And it’s no wonder Jesus insinuated the earth was in jeopardy in Mark 13: 31.

“Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away”.

But know also Jesus explicitly said that the Son of Man has power to forgive sins, on earth (Mark 2: 10). And a paralyzed man arose from his cot.

Consider the beauty of the earth but also Jesus, who allows us to see it, and after sin is confessed and removed by his death on the cross, participate in glorifying God with good works.