Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Sunday, 30 January 2022:
Psalms 11:3 — …if the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?
Since the beginning of time, the foundations of society and culture have been under attack. Today, you might feel these foundations are being destroyed as the psalmist did in his day – religious freedom is being threatened, the family is under attack, traditional values are eroding, corruption seems to be growing, supply chains which provide basic necessities are unreliable, global threats seem to be growing, and in many ways, the future may seem very bleak. Perhaps you might be asking yourself, “If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” However, if you catch yourself asking yourself that question, be like the psalmist and rebuke yourself, “How can you say that? The Lord is righteous and holy, and the Lord is on His throne; He is in control, He loves me, and in Him I take refuge!” (Psalm 11:4, 7, 1) The foundations of the kingdom of man are, in fact, being destroyed, but the foundation of the Kingdom of God are solid as a rock, and your security is assured in Christ.
- John 17:24 -- Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.
- Matthew 25:34 — Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
- 1 Corinthians 3:11 — For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
- Matthew 7:24-27 — Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.
- 2 Timothy 2:19 — But God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.”
- Hebrews 11:8-10 — By faith Abraham obeyed…. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God.
“The LORD tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence.” (Psalm 11:5) Perhaps, your faith is being tested today due to your circumstances. Trust in the Lord, and rejoice in His love, grace, and total Sovereignty. Praise His Name before the world, giving thanks for His many blessings. Don’t dishonor and discredit the Lord with worry, doubt, and fear, as if He isn’t in control and didn’t already show you how much He loves you by sending His one and only Son to die on the Cross for you – “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:31-32) Proclaim the glory of the Lord by displaying unmovable love, joy, and peace regardless of circumstances, and rest in the perfect providence of the Lord like Jesus rested in the boat trapped in the storm while the apostles were panicking – “And they went and woke him, saying, ‘Save us, Lord; we are perishing.’ And he said to them, ‘Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?’” (Matthew 8:25-26)
Psalm 12:1 — “Save, O LORD, for the godly one is gone; for the faithful have vanished from among the children of man.”
The psalmist wanted salvation in a society of people that had lost all goodness. Without the people of God to be salt that preserves and the light that exposes darkness, a society can become a virtual hell on earth. When the whole world turns wicked, will you still be holy, obedient and pure? How about your family. In times like this, when faith is being attacked, you need to double down on obedience. However, in our obedience, we need to maintain a heart for the sinner, a passion like Jesus’ passion to see the lost saved – “And have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.” (Jude 1:22, 23)
Psalm 12:3, 4 – “May the Lord cut off all flattering lips, the tongue that makes great boasts, those who say, ‘With our tongue we will prevail, our lips are with us; who is master over us?’”
Flattery is selfishness disguised by nice words. Flattery always has behind it a selfish motive. Similarly, many will speak of justice to pursue unjust gains; many will speak of love to promote sin; many will call love hate in order to disguise their own hate; many will define the language of an argument in order to win the argument. However, God’s word will prevail, and we need not deviate from it. Nor should we fail to proclaim God’s truth and counter the lies of our culture which deny the Sovereignty of Jesus Christ. Love (our greatest commandment) requires, absolutely requires, that we speak the truth in love, regardless the personal cost (our cross to bear). True love speaks the truth in love. The greatest gift of love anyone could receive is Jesus Christ, and the greatest gift of love you can share with someone today is the Gospel.
Genesis 28:12-13 — And he dreamed, and behold, there was a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven. And behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it! And behold, the LORD stood above it and said, “I am the LORD, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac. The land on which you lie I will give to you and to your offspring.
Watch this short video on the Gospel message in Genesis 28: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nXPDwdfEeAI
Genesis 28:15 – “Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land. For I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”
Despite his deceitfulness, God continued to bless Jacob based upon God’s integrity, not Jacob’s. Aren’t we all grateful that God’s fidelity does not depend upon our fidelity? God will discipline Jacob, but He won’t abandon Jacob.
Genesis 28:16 — “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it.”
Christians are filled with the Holy Spirit, and God is at work all around us, but many Christians cannot perceive His presence. Can you? God is at work all around you today and has called you to participate in what He is doing as part of His great plan of redemption. Do you know what He is doing, and are you at work with Him today?
- Amos 3:7 — “For the Lord GOD does nothing without revealing his secret to his servants the prophets.
- John 5:17, 19-20 — But Jesus answered them, “My Father is working until now, and I am working.” So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing.
Genesis 28:20, 21 – “Then Jacob made a vow, saying, ‘If God will be with me and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat and clothing to wear, so that I come again to my father’s house in peace, then the Lord shall be my God.’”
Is your fidelity to God conditional, based upon His blessings to you? Does God have to do something for you before you will obey Him and follow Him? Pray for a love for God that doesn’t depend upon His blessings, that doesn’t change in good times or bad times.
Proverbs 30:1-3 – “I am weary, O God, and worn out. Surely I am too stupid to be a man. I have not the understanding of a man. I have not learned wisdom, nor have I knowledge of the Holy One.”
Walking on your own path rather than with Jesus only wears you out.
It takes a lot for some people to finally realize how much they need God and to humble themselves before the Lord.
One of the first steps to wisdom is acknowledging that you know nothing and that you are totally reliant on God for understanding.
Life outside of a genuine relationship with God and a life lived outside of His guidance will wear you out. Like so many before and after him, Agur discovers this late in his days. Now he is starting to gain wisdom. The more you know, the more you know what you don’t know. Socrates said, “’The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.” Proverbs says, the Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, understanding our total reliance on Him.
The first step to understanding is to understand that you don’t understand. Human intellect is so very limited; it can’t take you very far. However, God reveals things to you that you could never understand on your own or through all the teaching the world has to offer. A prerequisite to acquiring wisdom is acknowledging your ignorance, your sinfulness, and your total dependence on God.
Wisdom is knowledge rightly applied. You cannot apply knowledge rightly without the direction of the Holy Spirit who puts things in context with the big picture that you can never see.
Proverbs 30:4 – “Who has ascended to heaven and come down? Who has gathered the wind in his fists? Who has wrapped up the waters in a garment? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is his name, and what is his son’s name? Surely you know!”
Too many people reject the word of God and the leading of the Holy Spirit, preferring instead to seek wisdom from their own understanding, rejecting the guidance of the One who created all things and who is the actual source of all wisdom – how incredibly foolish! Trust in the Lord and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways, follow His leadership as Lord, and He will make your paths straight.
“What is his name, and what is his son’s name? Surely you know!” Jesus is the Name of the Son, and there is no other name by which man must be saved – He ascended to Heaven, He has gathered the wind, wrapped the waters, and established the ends of the earth. Follow Him.
Proverbs 30:5, 6 – “Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Do not add to his words, lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar.”
We should only communicate the word of God to ourselves and to others. Don’t try to prove your wisdom by adding to it. Many feel they are too smart for the Bible, and many think they need more than God’s word. Many people trust in their own intellect rather than the mind of God. God will be glorified in the outcomes the prideful, presumptuous philosopher will inevitably face. Trust in God’s word, not in your own understanding.
Don’t make life harder than it has to be. Just obey God’s simple word. Walking in God’s word keeps you within the will of God even though you don’t fully understand what is happening or the “why” behind what is happening. We tend to add to God’s word or to complicate it because we really don’t want it to say what is clearly says. We tend to put conditions on it: “Who really is my neighbor? Under what conditions do I really have to forgive? Times have changed, and this doesn’t mean the same thing anymore.” The Bible warns that God’s word is unchanging, and you must obey it to remain in God’s will and to have wisdom. And the Bible tells us that you cannot really understand God’s word or obey it without the enlightenment and empowerment of the Holy Spirit which comes through salvation, genuine faith in Christ alone.
Notice by the way that all cults and false leaders add to or take away from God’s word. Knowing God’s word is your best defense against deception and abuse.
- Isaiah 55:8, 9 – For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
- Proverbs 3:5-8 — Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.
- John 3:3-13 — Jesus answered him, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God…. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit…. Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen, but you do not receive our testimony. If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things? No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man.”
- Mathew 22;29 — But Jesus answered them, “You are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) — 30 Jan 22: Today, replace your worry with worship, prayer, praise, proclamation of the Gospel, and service. Turn off the news and share the Good News. Glorify your God by radiating love, joy, and peace today.
- Philippians 4:4-8 — Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.