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Do not trust in deceptive words ...

"Do not trust in deceptive words and say, “This is the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord,  the temple of the Lord!”... Has this house, which bears My Name, become a den of robbers to you? But I have been watching! declares the Lord" (Jeremiah 7:4,11).
Jeremiah spoke to the people of his own day. He speaks to us as well. Don't let the place where you worship become more important than it really is. This is what he says to us. These are not only the words of Jeremiah. This is the Word of the Lord. What's happening in our hearts when we are gathered together in the House of the Lord? Are we thinking to ourselves, "I never miss a church service - not like those who've stopped coming to church"? What kind of "worship" is this? Lord, take us to the heart of worship. Give us a worshipping heart.

The human situation, the divine solution ...

Jeremiah 31:15-20

The human situation, the divine solution
 * “She refuses to be comforted” (Jeremiah 31:15). Often, we dig a hole for ourselves.
 * “Keep your voice from weeping, and your eyes from tears” - This is what “the Lord” says to us (Jeremiah 31:16).
If anyone else says this to us, we might well say, “It’s all right for you to say that. You’re not suffering like I am.”
God gave His only Son - to die for us. He knows what we’re going through. He’s been there, and He hasn’t forgotten it,
He came out the other side for us - the resurrection.
 * “They shall come back from the land of the enemy; there is hope for your future” (Jeremiah 31:16-17) - “more than conquerors through Him who loved us” (Romans 8:37).
How are we to understand our times of suffering?
 * “You disciplined me” (Jeremiah 31:18) - There is a purpose of God in our suffering. “Bring me back, let me come back, for You are the Lord my God” (Jeremiah 31:18) - the story of the prodigal son, your story, my st…

Yes, Lord.

“The Lord is the only God. He is the living God and eternal King” (Jeremiah 10:10). The contrast between God and the gods is simple. God made us. We made the gods. In the Lord our God, there is majesty and mystery - the majesty of the “eternal King”, the mystery that He is always beyond our understanding. Before this majesty and mystery, we bow down in worship. We acknowledge his greatness. We give Him glory. He is worthy of our worship. When God speaks His Word to us, “Obey Me, and do everything that I have told you to do. Then you will be My people, and I will be your God. I will keep the oath I made to your ancestors and give them a land flowing with milk and honey, the land you still have today.” We are to give our answer, “Yes, Lord” (Jeremiah 11:4-5). There will be many times when our "devotion" to the Lord will be put to the "test" (Jeremiah 12:3). These will be times of temptation - times when our 'Yes, Lord' could so easily become '…

Faithful And Fearless Preaching

God’s Word speaks against us so that we might learn not to speak against God’s Word. God calls us to holiness – “Run away from Babylon! Run for your lives!” (Jeremiah 51:6). The final outcome is described in Jeremiah 51:8 – “Babylon will suddenly fall and be shattered.” God is warning us. It is folly to live the world’s way rather than the Lord’s way. In the light of the Lord’s Word, preached so faithfully by Jeremiah, we must learn to pray, “Your will be done, Lord.”

What People Want To Hear? or What They Need To Hear?

Jeremiah was not a popular prophet. He didn’t tell the people what they wanted to hear. He wasn’t concerned with gaining their approval. He was determined to keep on speaking God’s Word – whatever the people thought about him, said about him or did to him. The first priority is faithfulness. We must not make relevance the be-all and end-all. Relevance must be built on faithfulness. The two are to be held together – faithfulness and relevance. If we do not remain faithful to God’s Word, our words will be irrelevant. They will not be God’s Word for the people. “Your Word is truth” (John 17:17) – This must be at the heart of both our preaching and our living.

Out of depression and defeat, into vigour and victory

Jeremiah’s message had been ignored. His faith was sorely tested. Despite all of this, he was able to say, “Sing to the Lord! Praise the Lord!” (Jeremiah 20:13). This was not his constant theme. In the very next verse, he says, “Cursed is the day that I was born.” We are pulled this way and that way by a turmoil of confused and confusing emotions. Our heart is a battleground. May the Lord lift us out of depression and defeat. May He lift us into vigour and victory.

God among us, God speaking to us, God working in us and through us

“Listen and pay attention! Don’t be arrogant. The Lord has spoken” (Jeremiah 13:5). “Do something, Lord, for the sake of Your Name, even though our sins testify against us” (Jeremiah 14:7). We listen to God, and we call upon Him – “If you return, I will take you back … I am with you, and I will save you and rescue you, says the Lord” (Jeremiah 15:19-20). Along with the great promise, “I am with you and I will save you”, there is also the call to return to the Lord. God knows what we are like – “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure” (Jeremiah 17:9). God knows that we cannot change ourselves. We can only be changed by Him. He calls us back from the way of the “fool” (Jeremiah 17:11). He calls us to Himself. The Word, given to the prophet, is also the Word, spoken to the people. It is the Word of salvation. “Where is the Word of the Lord? Let it come!” (Jeremiah 17:15). The Word of the Lord comes. It comes from above. It comes from the Lord. We cannot cre…

Is there a way out of the desert?

God speaks to His people about their sin - "The people of Jerusalem turned away from Me without ever returning ..." (Jeremiah 8:5). He is not pleased with them. He is calling them to return to Him - "Change the way you live ..." (Jeremiah 7:3). The life of Israel is “like the desert” (Jeremiah 9:12). This moral and spiritual desert is described in Jeremiah 9:13-14 - “The Lord answered, They’ve abandoned My teachings that I placed in front of them. They didn’t obey Me, and they didn’t follow them, They followed their own stubborn ways and other gods ...” This was a serious situation. These words are very relevant to today’s Church and world. God is not being taken seriously. His Word  is being ignored. The situation goes from bad to worse. God is speaking. Few people are listening. He speaks through His Word. Few people are reading His Word. We must listen to what God says and do what He tells us to do.

Is there still hope of God's blessing?

Jeremiah speaks of God’s judgment - “I’m bringing disaster and widespread destruction ...” (Jeremiah 4:6). This message comes to us as a word of warning, a plea to the people to return to the Lord and find His mercy - “So put on sackcloth, mourn and cry because the Lord’s burning anger hasn’t turned away from us” (Jeremiah 4:8). This is the call to repentance. We read of God’s burning anger, and we wonder,”Is there still the hope of God’s blessing?” God is speaking of His judgment - “Nation of Israel, I’m going to bring a nation from far away to attack you,declares the Lord, I won’t destroy all of you” (Jeremiah 5:15,18). God’s Word  concerning the threat of judgment is a call to the people to honour Him as God: “Pay attention to My warning, Jerusalem, or I will turn away from you. I will make your land desolate ...” (Jeremiah 6:8). The ministry of Jeremiah differs from the ministry of the false prophets. They say, “Everything is alright!” He says, “It’s not alright! (Je…

Called into the service of the eternal God

Jeremiah was called into the service of the eternal God - “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you. Before you were born, I set you apart for My holy purpose. I appointed you to be a prophet to the nations” (Jeremiah 1:5). Jeremiah called the people back to the Lord, “the fountain of living (life-giving) water” (Jeremiah 2:13). He called them to be converted - to turn around. They were turning their backs on the Lord. They were replacing Him with something else, something useless, something that would never bring them real satisfaction (Jeremiah 2:13). Now, they were to turn their faces to Him (Jeremiah 2:27). To a returning people, God promises his mercy - “Come back, unfaithful Israel. It is the Lord speaking. I will no longer frown on you because I’m merciful, declares the Lord, I will no longer be angry with you.” returning to the Lord means confessing our sins - “Admit that you’ve done wrong! You have rebelled against the Lord your God ...” The message of Jeremi…

Listen to the Word of the Lord!

The Word of God, spoken by Jeremiah, still needs to be heard today – “O land, land, land! Listen to the Word of the Lord!” (Jeremiah 22:29). God has much to say to this land and every land. Are we listening to His Word? or Have we closed our ears? Jeremiah speaks of our Saviour, Jesus Christ – “The days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will grow a righteous Branch for David” (Jeremiah 23:5). Like Jeremiah, we must direct attention to the Saviour. Speaking God’s Word, Jeremiah said, “I am a God who is near. I am also a God who is far away” (Jeremiah 23:23). We must maintain these two emphases in our preaching. God is greater than we can imagine, yet He has come near to us in Christ.

‘I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness’ (Jeremiah 31:3).

So often, we have been like ‘the prodigal son’(Luke 15:11-24). We have walked away from our Father’s House. We have wandered off into ‘the far country’. We feel that we are far from God, yet still He draws near to us.

The Lord is at work in our hearts. He is bringing us ‘to our senses’. He is reminding us of His love. He is drawing us back to Himself. In love, He is calling us home again. He is speaking to our hearts. He is saying to us, ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love’.

As His love reaches our hearts, ‘the prodigal son’ becomes ‘the returning son’: ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son’. ‘Bring me back, let me come back, for you are the Lord my God!’(Jeremiah 31:18). So often, we have been like ‘the prodigal son’(Luke 15:11-24). We have walked away from our Father’s House. We have wandered off into ‘the far country’. We feel that we are far from God, yet still He draws near to us.

The Lord is at wor…

Life's Disasters And God's Love

“Maybe the nation of Judah will hear about all the disasters that I plan to bring on them, and they will turn from their wicked ways. Then I will forgive their wickedness and their sins” (Jeremiah 36:3). Even in all life’s disasters, we must never lose sight of God’s love. He sends disasters. This is not because He hates us. He loves us. Through these disasters, He’s calling us back to Himself. He’s calling us to receive His forgiveness.

Conviction Of Sin, Conversion To The Saviour

Jeremiah was fearless in his preaching of God’s Word. He spoke the truth. He spoke the Word which had been given to him by the Lord. When God speaks the Word of His holiness, the Word which exposes sin for what it really is, there is no place to hide. When we read Jeremiah’s words about Israel’s enemies, we must recognize that the Word of God concerning sin must be spoken clearly. It is only when there is conviction of sin that there can be conversion to the Saviour.

Called To Be A Prophet Of God

Jeremiah 1:4-10
How old was Jeremiah when he was called to be a prophet of God? We don't know. We do know that this was the great turning-point of his life. This was the day that he discovered the meaning, purpose and direction of his life. This was revealed to him by God. This call gave him strength to face many difficult times.

God says to us, “I love you with an everlasting love.”

God says to us, “I love you with an everlasting love” (Jeremiah 31:3). Through His love, we have “a happy song” to sing (Jeremiah 31:7). Through His love, we are “changed.” Our life is “turned around” (Jeremiah 31:18). The love of God for us is revealed most powerfully in His Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ. He is the fulfilment of the prophecy in Jeremiah 31:31-34. When we consider Him – how wonderful He is – and all He has done for us, we will “give thanks to the Lord”, rejoicing in His goodness and praising Him for “His love which endures for ever.” We see His love – supremely – in “the righteous branch” – Jesus: “The Lord our Righteousness” (Jeremiah 33:15-16).

God’s everlasting love

Jeremiah 31:1-6

God’s everlasting love: His love for us comes before our love for Him. We’re living in a wilderness - spiritual and moral. We’re always searching, but never finding. We’re never sure which way to turn. 
Into this situation, comes God - from “far away” (heaven). He speaks of His love, and putting our life together again (Jeremiah 31:3-4).
We can’t do this for ourselves. He must do this for us. It’s not a self-improvement programme. It’s a new birth into a life of praise (Jeremiah 31:40, service (Jeremiah 31:5) and calling others to come and worship the Lord (Jeremiah 31:6).

Peace With God? or No Peace?

The proclamation of peace with God through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 5:1) must be carefully dissociated from a proclamation which says, "'Peace, peace', when there is no peace" (Jeremiah 6:14; Jeremiah 8:11).

"Is there any word from the Lord?" (Jeremiah 37:17).

There are different ways of asking questions.
"Is there any word from the Lord?" This is a question which invites Jeremiah to speak the Word of the Lord.
In Genesis 3:1, we have a very different way of asking questions - "the serpent ... said to the woman, Did God really say ... ?"
The "ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan" (Revelation 12:9) is always trying to get us to stop believing the Word of God.
"Is there any Word from the Lord?" - Jeremiah's answer is "Yes" (Jeremiah 37:17).
What was the Word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah at that time? - "You will be delivered into the hands of the king of Babylon" (Jeremiah 37:17).
What are we to do when God's Word doesn't say what we had been hoping to hear? - We must refuse to ask the Satanic question, "Did God really say?" We must learn to say, from the heart, "This is the Word of the Lord."
It's not our place to say what the Word of God s…

Everlasting Love

"I have loved you with an everlasting love" (Jeremiah 31:3).
God loves us. This isn’t for some perfect people who’ve never fallen into sin. There’s nobody who’s like that. All of us have made a mess of things – but God still says to us, “I love you.” He says, “My Son, Jesus, died for you.” This is what gives us the strength to choose His way rather than our own way. This is what keeps us from sin. This is what convinces us that there’s a better way than the way of sin. There’s a way of blessing. It comes to us when we’re learning how much God loves us. He doesn’t give up on us when we let Him down. He keeps on loving us. He keeps on lifting us up. He sets us on our feet. He changes the direction of our life. It becomes less about ourselves, and more about Him (Galatians 2:20).
So often, we have been like ‘the prodigal son’(Luke 15:11-24). We have walked away from our Father’s House. We have wandered off into ‘the far country’. We feel that we are far from God, ye…

God’s “everlasting love” (Jeremiah 31:3) and God’s “everlasting salvation” (Isaiah 45:17)

Psalm 136:1-26 ‘His love endures for ever’. This is the great message contained in every single verse of this Psalm. It’s a message worth repeating – over and over again! God’s love is an everlasting love – ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love’ (Jeremiah 31:3). God’s love is an unfailing love – ‘My unfailing love for you will not be shaken’ (Isaiah 54:10). Let us ‘give thanks’ to God for His love (Psalm 136:1-3,26). In His love, the Lord has provided for us ‘an everlasting salvation’. His ‘salvation will last for ever’ (Isaiah 45:17; Isaiah 51:6). We must not be like those who refuse to love the Lord – ‘Pharaoh… great kings… mighty kings …’ (Psalm 136:15,17-20). Those who reject God’s love will not receive ‘eternal life’. Their future will be very different – the ‘raging fire that will consume the enemies of God’ (John 3:16-18; Hebrews 10:26-27).

“The days are coming.”

“The days are coming”: These words introduce a prophecy concerning the land (Jeremiah 30:3). The greatest blessing is not being in the land. It is belonging to the Lord. This is the blessing, spoken of by Jeremiah. When, speaking God’s Word, he writes, “You will be My people, and I will be your God” (Jeremiah 30:22).

Sing with joy ...

Jeremiah 31:7-14

“Sing with joy” (Jeremiah 31:7,12-13).
This is to be our response to the Gospel. It’s more than a singalong. It’s “praise.” This praise continues after we leave the place of worship.
“Shout” - “I am not ashamed” (Romans 1:16).
“Proclaim” - Make the message known: “for the Good News” (Romans 1:1,5-6).
This for everyone (Jeremiah 31:8,10).
We come as we are - “blind” and “lame” (Jeremiah 31:8). We come to our “Shepherd” (Jeremiah 31:10). He has “ransomed” us. He has “redeemed” us from the “power” of Satan, Our enemy is stronger than we are, but he is not stronger than Jesus - “the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world” (1 John 4:40.
With Christ in our life, everything changes - “new wine, fresh oil... Their life will be... They will be no longer...” (Jeremiah 31:12). It is “abundant” life, a “satisfied” life (Jeremiah 31:14). We have received new life in Christ - “This is the Lord’s declaration concerning us (Jeremiah 31:14).

God forgives and forgets.

Jeremiah 31:31-40

God forgives and forgets (Jeremiah 31:34). It’s not “God cannot remember.” It’s “God chooses not to remember.” The rebuilding of our life - we are to be “holy to the Lord” (Jeremiah 31:38-40).

The Highway

Jeremiah 31:21-30

“Set your hearts toward the highway; keep the highway in mind” (Jeremiah 31:21) - “the highway of holiness” (Isaiah 35:8): A call to the “backsliding daughter” (Jeremiah 31:22). “The backslider in heart will be filled with his own ways, but a good man will be satisfied” (Proverbs 14:14). Here’s a breath prayer (breathe in for the first part, breathe out for the second part). It’s based on John 3:30 - “More of You, Lord, less of me.” “The Lord bless you... mountain of holiness” (Jeremiah 31:23), “the days are coming” (Jeremiah 31:27,31,38): God is looking towards what we will become. Taking apart the self-centred life; putting together the God-centred life (Jeremiah 31:28).

Perfect Love Casts Out Fear.

We are not to be afraid of those who oppose God and His Word (Jeremiah 42:11). We are to trust God. We are to stand on the promises that He has given to us in His Word – “I will have compassion on you” (Jeremiah 42:12).

Every spiritual blessing - in Christ: Come to Him and receive His blessing.

'I will bring Judah and Israel back from captivity and will rebuild them as they were before. I will cleanse them from all the sin they have committed against Me... Then this city will bring Me renown, joy, praise, and honour before all nations on earth...'(Jeremiah 33:7-9). What great blessing lay ahead of God’s people! God was pointing His people to the place of blessing: Jesus Christ - ‘the righteous Branch from David’s line’(Jeremiah 33:15-16). ‘In Christ’, we have ‘every spiritual blessing’: ‘No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him’(Ephesians 1:3; 1 Corinthians 2:9). God has so much blessing to give to us. Come to Him and receive His blessing: ‘Call to Me, and I will answer you; I will show you wonderful and marvellous things that you know nothing about’(Jeremiah 33:3).

The God Of The Past - And The Future

Jeremiah 6:9-19
The Word of God is to be preached - and heard.
Real hearing begins with listening. it doesn't end there.
The preacher's message doesn't begin with himself. The preacher is a messenger. The message comes from God. He has sent the preacher to deliver His message.
The message of Jeremiah 6:16 is not just 'the old ways are always the best ways.' How could there be progress if we were always thinking like this? How could we move beyond the Old Testament and into the New Testament? We are to look back to what God has done. we are to build on it, as we move on with Him, into His future. From the past, we learn about what God has done for us, what He has said to us and what He requires of those whom He has redeemed. We learn from the past, but we must not allow ourselves to get locked in the past. God is the God of the future as well as the God of the past - and He is the God of the past as well as the God of the future.

Realism And Hope, Suffering And Glory

There’s realism in the ministry of Jeremiah. He prophesies the Babylonian captivity. There is also hope. He looks beyond the Babylonian captivity: “They will be taken to Babylon and stay there.I come for them, declares the Lord. I will take them from there and bring them back to this place” (Jeremiah 27:22). The way we are led may not be easy. The destination will be glorious. When things are going badly, we must never lose sight of the final goal of God’s working in us and through us. Beyond the suffering, there is the glory.

Listening To The Word Of The Lord - And Being Changed By The Word Of The Lord

Jeremiah’s ministry was a call from God to the people – a call to “listen to the Word of the Lord” (Jeremiah 44:24). Listening to what the Lord has to say to us will mean being ready to revise our own ideas. Our thoughts, without the guiding Word from the Lord, will be very different from thoughts which have been shaped by the Word of the Lord.

Salvation and the assurance of salvation

Genesis 15:1-21
In Genesis 15:2,8, Abraham asks two questions: " ...what will you give me?" " ... how can I be certain ... ?" For us, these are the questions of salvation and the assurance of salvation - God has given us His salvation, and we have the assurance that this salvation has been given and received. Where are we to look for answers to these questions? We are to look to the "Almighty Lord" (Genesis 15:2,8). How are we to receive God's answers? - By faith: "Abraham believed the Lord" (Genesis 15:6). Through Christ: When we read Genesis 15:10, our concern is not with these animals. It is with the fact that they were sacrificed, and that this sacrifice points forward to "Christ, our Passover Lamb (who) has been sacrificed" for us (1 Corinthians 5:7). In Him, we have both salvation and the assurance of salvation (John 20:31; 1 John 5:13).

Human sin and divine grace

Genesis 17:1-27
The contrast between Sarai (Genesis 16) and Sarah (Genesis 17) is striking. It is the contrast between human sin and divine grace: "Don't call your wife by the name Sarai anymore. Instead, her name is Sarah (princess). I will bless her ... " (Genesis 17:15-16). What she was is a thing of the past. What she will become is the work of God's grace. The Lord intends to bless her and make her a blessing - "she will become a mother of nations and kings will come from her" (Genesis 17:16). Human experience can always be viewed from two very different perspectives - the perspective of sin and the perspective of grace. We must learn to look at our lives and say, "Sin shall not have dominion. Grace is victorious" (Romans 6:14).

Is anything too hard for the Lord?

Genesis 18:1-33 "Is anything too hard for the Lord?" (Genesis 18:14). God was intent on doing something great - "through him (Abraham) all the nations of the earth will be blessed" (Genesis 18:18) - and nothing was going to stop Him. Even if a great many people - Sodom and Gomorrah - refused to honour God, His purpose would not be hindered. He would find a remnant for Himself. the remnant may have seemed impossibly small, but it was to be the beginning of blessing for all the nations. the smallness of the beginnings serves to emphasize the greatness of the blessings. This is not man's doing. It is the work of God, and all the glory belongs to Him, the god of salvation, the God of grace, the God of glory.

God remembered Abraham.

Genesis 19:1-38
In a rather forgettable chapter, we find these gracious words - "God ... remembered Abraham"; "Lot was allowed to escape from the destruction that came to the cities where he was living" (Genesis 19:29). What a great thing it is to be "remembered" by God. What a great thing it is to have God's salvation - "everything we need for life and for godliness" - by which we are able to "escape the corruption that sinful desires cause in the world" (2 Peter 1:3-4). While we have this provision of God for godliness, we need to be constantly on our guard. The sad episode, recorded in Genesis 19:30-38, makes it so clear that we must be careful. Even those, whom we hoped would be a help to us, can turn out to be a hindrance. Devotion to the Lord needs to be renewed day-by-day. If we fail to maintain our devotion to the Lord, we leave ourselves vulnerable to the attacks of the enemy and we will be overcome by him.

The laughter of unbelief ... and the laughter of faith

Genesis 21:1-34
There are two very different kinds of laughter in the story of Sarah. there is the laughing in Genesis 18:13-15. This is the laughter of unbelief, laughing at the Lord, with the proud attitude that God's Word cannot be taken seriously. There is the laughter of faith, the laughter which rejoices in the Lord - "God has brought me laughter and everyone who hears about me will laugh with me" (Genesis 21:6). This is the rejoicing of Sarah at the birth of Isaac. Hagar and Ishmael are not forgotten - God's sun shines on the righteous and the unrighteous (Matthew 5:45). The final section - Genesis 21:22-34 - sees Abraham acting more nobly than he did in Genesis 21. It ends with Abraham worshipping the Lord, the everlasting God (Genesis 21:33).

Isaac and Jesus

Genesis 22:1-24
Abraham was prepared to sacrifice Isaac - "You did not refuse to give Me your son, your only son" (Genesis 22:12). God did give His only Son for us - "God did not spare His only Son but handed Him over to death for us all" (Romans 8:32). While there may be comparisons made between the sacrifice of Isaac and the sacrifice of Jesus, we must emphasize the great difference - the sacrifice of Isaac did not happen, the sacrifice of Jesus did. For Isaac, there was a way out. For Jesus, there was no other way. Abraham's faith was proved genuine without the sacrifice of Isaac. Our faith only becomes a reality through the sacrifice of Christ (Galatians 2:20-21; Galatians 3:13-14).

First Things First

“Seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33).
First things first! We worry about many things. We get anxious about this, that and the other thing. Jesus is saying to us, “Seek first God’s Kingdom.” Whenever our many anxieties threaten to overwhelm us, let us remember this: The Lord is King!

Names are important to God.

Genesis 10:1-32
Names are important to God. Jesus, the Good Shepherd, "calls His sheep by name' (John 10:3). Among the many names, there is an interesting reference to "Nimrod, the first mighty warrior on the earth ... a mighty hunter whom the Lord blessed" (8-9). When we note that the first among the "cities in his kingdom" is "Babylon" (10), alarm bells ring. Yes, we are told that "the Lord blessed" Nimrod, but, when we read of the development of the city of Babylon, we are not reading of God's blessing so much as Babylon's rebellion. With the privilege of God's blessing comes the responsibility of maintaining His blessing. There are mighty warriors according to the flesh, and there are mighty warriors according to the Spirit. There is something we must never forget - "The weapons we use in our fight are not made by humans. Rather, they are powerful weapons from God" (2 Corinthians 10:4).

We must choose ...

Genesis 13:1-18
The life of God's people - those who worship Him (Genesis 13:4) - is always set in the context of wickedness. There are always choices to be made. Like Abraham, we can choose to worship God, or we can be like Lot and choose to go the way of wickedness. The choices we make reveal the people that we are. Those who choose the way upon which the Lord's blessing rests show that their hearts belong to the Lord. Those who choose the way upon which the Lord's judgment rests show that their hearts belong to the world. the worldly man, Lot, thought only of himself. The spiritual man, Abraham, concerned himself with doing the Lord's will. There is a great difference between Lot and Abraham - "Lot chose the whole Jordan plain for himself"; "The Lord said to Abraham ... 'I will give you all the land you see to you'" (Genesis 13:11,15). The worldly man takes for himself. The spiritual man waits to receive from God.

When you see a rainbow, remember God is love.

Genesis 9:1-28
'When you see a rainbow, remember God is love.' The love of God is revealed in the rainbow. It is more fully revealed in the Cross: 'We sing the praise of Him who died ... Upon the cross we see, in shining letters, "God is love." He bears our sins upon the tree. He brings us mercy from above." When we read the Old Testament stories - such as the story of Noah, we must learn to look beyond the story itself, seeing its place within the fuller Story, the Story of God's salvation: 'I will sing the wondrous story of the Christ who died for me.' This is the greatest story of all - "the Story ... of Jesus and His glory, of Jesus and His love ... the story of wonderful redemption, God's remedy for sin.' 'This is our story. This is our song, praising our Saviour all the day long.' This is the 'story to tell to the nations, the song to be sung to the nations, the message to give to the nations, the Savio…

Jesus Christ - the Source of our salvation

Genesis 7:1-24
What was going on outside of the ark is contrasted with the haven of salvation inside the ark. We read that, once all were in the ark, "the Lord closed the door behind them" (16). What was it that made the ark a place of salvation? - The Lord. What is it that makes Jesus Christ the Source of our salvation? - God has given Him the Name that is above every name, the Name of our salvation (Philippians 2:9-11; Acts 4:12). "Salvation is of the Lord" (Jonah 2:9): This is the spiritual significance of what we read in Genesis concerning the flood. Christ is the Door. Those who enter through Him will be saved (John 10:9). We must listen to what God says concerning salvation. If we listen to what the world says, we will conclude that all will be saved. If we listen to the Lord, we will come to Christ and find salvation in Him alone.

Grace found Noah!

Genesis 6:1-22
As we read the story of Noah, we learn of the place of Noah within the divine revelation of the Gospel of grace. "Noah found grace" (8) might be turned around to read, "Grace found Noah." "Amazing grace ... I once was lost but now am found." The significance of Noah, highlighted in 5:29, is expressed in the words, "Not the labour of my hands can fulfil Thy law's demands ... All for sin could not atone, Thou must save, and Thou alone. Nothing in my hand I bring, simply to Thy Cross I cling." To think of the flood exclusively in terms of judgment is to see only one side of what God was doing. As well as judging, He was also saving - "In this ship a few people - eight in all - were saved by water" (1 Peter 3:20). The ark points forward to Christ, "who came back from death to life", Christ who "saves" us (1 Peter 3:21).

Enoch, Noah ... and Christ

Genesis 5:1-32
"Enoch walked with God" (22-23). Following this striking statement about Enoch's remarkable walk with God, we are introduced to Noah (28-32). Like Enoch, "Noah walked with God" (6:9). "Noah" means "Relief" - "Out of the ground which the Lord has cursed this child shall bring us relief from our work and from the toil of our hands" (29). This seems to be a rather mundane statement. The deeper significance of this "relief" becomes clearer as we look more closely, chapters 6-9, at the place of Noah within the purpose of God. By building the ark, Noah brought relief from the storm of God's judgment. What an awesome judgment of God the flood was. In the midst of this judgment, there was relief (salvation). The ark is a picture of Christ. Those who are in Him are saved. Those who are outside of Him are lost. Christ is the "child" of our salvation. He takes salvation into His hands, takin…

Jesus is "the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world."

Genesis 4:1-16
We read about Cain and Abel. We look beyond them to Christ. He offered himself as the perfect sacrifice for sin. He is "the Passover Lamb." He "has been sacrificed for us" (1 Corinthians 5:7). Jesus is "the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world" (John 1:29).
We read here about the parting of the ways. Cain went one way - away from God. Abel went the other way - towards God. When we come to the Cross of Jesus Christ, we must make our choice. Our  life can never be the same again.
Will we be like Cain? - "He went out from the Lord's presence and lived in the land of wandering" (Genesis 4:16). What does God say to those who are wandering away from Him? He says, "Awake, sleeper, and rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you" (Ephesians 5:14).
We read about Abel, and we look beyond him to Christ. Let us walk with Christ on the way of faith and obedience, the way of His salvation, the way of …

The increase of sin ... and the ray of hope!

Genesis 4:1-26
This chapter tells the story of the progression of humanity, the increase of sin and, in it final sentence, the development of worship. There are interesting snippets of cultural information (20-22). There may be progress in the horizontal dimension - agriculture, music, industry, but history reveals, again and again, that all is not well in our relationship with God. Sin was on the increase (1-16). Things were getting out of control. Could they be turned around again? A strongly positive answer to this question is not spelled out in detail in this chapter. There is, however, a hint of God at the end of the chapter. He is still at work, calling sinners to worship Him, and people are beginning to respond. This is the note on which the chapter ends - "At that time people began to worship the Lord" (26). At the end of a chapter which is, at best, informative - the progression of culture, and, at worst, depressing - the increase of sin, this is the r…

For Christ, there was suffering. For us, there is salvation.

Genesis 3:8-24
Here, we focus on three verses.
* Genesis 3:9 - "Where are you?" This is the voice of love: "The Son of Man has come to seek and to save the lost" (Luke 19:10).
* Genesis 3:15 - A prophecy concerning our Saviour and His mighty triumph over Satan
For Christ, there was suffering. For us, there is salvation.
* Genesis 3:22 - Salvation is not something we can reach out and take.
It must be given to us by the Lord. We must receive salvation from the Lord. It is always His gift.

Jesus has triumphed over Satan - for us!

Genesis 3:1-7
The tragedy of Adam and Eve: their fall into sin. We compare this with the triumph of Jesus - His victory over Satan.
What made the difference?- standing on the Word of God.
Adam and Eve believed the lie of the devil.
Jesus took His stand on the Word of God.
What about us? Do we stand? or Do we fall? Will we listen to Satan? or Will we listen to God?
We cannot be facing in two directions at the same time. We must make our choice.
Will our life be self-centred? or Will it be God-centred?
God is calling us out of the old life (the Adam life). He’s calling us into the new life (the Jesus life). When we choose to walk with Jesus, He walks with us.

Privilege and Responsibility

Genesis 2:4-25
Here, we see the privilege and responsibility of being human. As well as the privilege - created in the image of God (1:26-27), there is also the responsibility - in relation to (a) the creation: "farm the land and ... take care of it " (15); (b) the Creator: "you must never eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil" (17). Human life is lived within two horizons - (i) the temporal or earthly horizon: we have relationships with one another: "It is not good for the man to be alone" (18); (ii) the eternal or heavenly horizon: we are related to God. Human relationships do not fully satisfy us. There is a longing for God our Creator: "He has put a sense of eternity in people's minds" (Ecclesiastes 3:11). He has given us good things to be enjoyed (1 Timothy 4:4). He has also created us to be "inwardly ... renewed" by feeding on the "things" that "last forever" (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)…

The evil subtlety of Satan ... and the defeat of Satan!

From the majestic perfection of God and the privileged responsibility of humanity, we now move to the evil subtlety of Satan. An intruder has sneaked into the privileged place between God the Creator and mankind. His creation. Chapter 2 ends with the absence of shame. Chapter 3 begins with the presence of Satan. The work of Satan, successfully executed, ensures that chapter 3 ends rather differently from chapter 2 - "the Lord God sent the man out of the Garden of Eden" (23). This was "Paradise Lost." Was there a way to "Paradise Regained"? There are two answers to this question: 'No' and 'Yes.' Taking ourselves as the starting-point, the answer is 'No' - God will not permit us to take salvation into our own hands (24). Starting with God, we answer, 'Yes' - this is the answer of verse 15: Christ (the woman's descendant) will be crucified (the bruising of His heel), but the outcome of this will be the defeat…

The devil will not win the war!

Genesis 2:4-25
Do what God tells us to do. This leads to blessing. Do what God tells us not to do. This leads to trouble. It’s been trouble ever since.
Here, on earth, things can be turned around. We can be set in the right direction. We are not yet at our final destination, but we’re travelling towards it.
When Adam and Eve sinned, they “died” spiritually. Immediately, we see conflict. The devil has won a battle. He has won many more battles. He will win many more battles. He will not win the war.
In Genesis 3:15, we catch a glimpse of God’s eternal Kingdom, in which “there will no longer be any curse” (Revelation 22:3).

The majesty of God ...

Genesis 1:1-2:3 There is, here, a real sense of the majesty of God. He is "beyond description." We cannot comprehend Him. We can hardly put into words this sense of God's greatness. We are transported into an eternal dimension, which is so different from our earthly existence. We read, "In the beginning, God ... " (1:1). Many live as if God was absent, as if humanity was the only reality. Here, it is we who are absent from view. Here, we see God only. Humanity only comes into view when God chooses (1:26-27). Everything about this is God-centred rather than man-centred. The light comes when God says, "Let there be light" (1:3). Prior to God's Word of command, in 1:3, we see "the Spirit of God hovering" (1:2). The Spirit is on the alert, ready to move into action, ready for the Word of God to be spoken, ready to empower the Word so that it becomes mightily effective. All that follows - described as "very good" - com…

Before the creation, there is the Creator.

Genesis 1:1-2:3
Before the creation, there is the Creator.
* He is the chief focus of attention in the Bible’s first chapter. Wherever we look in Genesis 1, we see the word, God. This is about Him. Genesis 1 speaks about us. It tells us where we have come from. We have come from God. He is our Creator. Take away God, and our life has no meaning, no purpose, no direction.
* Move on from the Bible’s first chapter. Read the rest of Genesis, the rest of the Old Testament,the rest of the Bible. What do you find? The Bible is a Book about God. It’s not only a Book about God. It’s a Book that has been given to us by God. It’s His Word.
* What about our faith and our life? Our faith comes to us from God. Our life has been given to us by God. We are to put our faith in God. We are to live our life for God.
* “God said, Let there be light, and there was light” (Genesis 1:3). The light of God’s love and holiness. “He created us in His own image” (Genesis 1:27). Created by God - lov…

21st - 28th April: Deuteronomy 18 - 34

21st April Deuteronomy 18:1-19:21 "The land the Lord you God is giving you" (Deuteronomy 18:9; Deuteronomy 19:1,8,10,14): In all the practical instructions given to the people of Israel, there is always this reminder of the spiritual dimension. They are the people of God. They have been blessed by the Lord. They are to live as people who appreciate God's blessing. The spiritual dimension must never be forgotten. We are not talking only about social matters. We are talking about the life of God's people, "the redeemed of the Lord." 22nd April Deuteronomy 20:1-21:23 The conflict between the Israelites and the other nations was really a conflict between the true God and the false gods (Deuteronomy 20:17-18). Everything in life must be seen in connection with our relationship to God: Are we being true to Him? Or, are we being false? We must seek to do what "the Lord considers right", what is "clean" in His eyes (Deuteronomy 21:9,23)…

In the beginning ...

“In the beginning, God”  – The first four words of the Bible take us back to the point where we can go no further, back to the eternity of God.
What do we find when we are taken back – into the heart of the eternal God?
We find love. We discover that “God is love.”
Creation is love because God is love. Before God made us, He loved us.
The love which we find in the opening chapters of Genesis is the love that is proclaimed throughout God’s Word – from Genesis to Revelation.
It’s the great love of God for us. It’s the love that never ends. It’s the love that goes on and on.
* How do we get to know God the Creator? How do we come to know that His heart is full of love for us?
In Genesis 1, three words are repeated over and over again: “And God said”.
These words emphasize the creative power of the Word of God.
God created through His Word. He proclaims His love to us through Jesus Christ, the living Word of God. He declares His love for us in the Scriptures, the written Word …

14th - 20th April: Deuteronomy 1 - 17

14th April Deuteronomy 1:1-3:29 This is the continuing story of God's mighty working on behalf of His chosen people. He is leading them on to the land He had promised to them. Entering this land will not be easy. There will be plenty of opposition. The enemy will be defeated. The Lord will triumph over all who stand against Him. 15th April Deuteronomy 4:1-6:25 There is a real challenge here - Continue in the way of the Lord. Don't turn back from following Him. This is important - not only for ourselves but for generations to come. The Word of the Lord must never be dismissed as something which is to be left in the past. Love for the Lord is not to be set aside as a thing of the past. We are to preserve the Word of the Lord for the next generation. The call to love God must be passed on those who come after us. Deuteronomy 6:1-9
We don't begin with the call to love God. We begin with His plan to bless us - "the land" (Deuteronomy 6:1,3): "There is a …

Brought to Christ, sent out by Christ

Genesis 8:1-22
At the end of the flood, God said to Noah, "Come out of the ship" (15). We are "in Christ". He is the Source of our salvation. God has brought us into Christ (1 Corinthians 1:30). He does not bring us into Christ only for our own benefit. He sends us out into the world to bring others to Christ. Noah and the remnant of faith had been preserved so that they might be fruitful (17). This is still God's way. In love, He lays claim to our lives so that we can be fruitful for Him (John 15:16). This fruit comes to us as we abide in Christ (John 15:4-5). We are not sent out alone into the world. We are sent out as those who are in Christ. From a position of strength, we go forth, resting on our Shield and our Defender, to bring strength to others. Strengthened in "the ship", we step out with Christ and for Him.

22nd July: Isaiah 55:1-13

“Without money and without cost” (Isaiah 55:1) - “The best things in life are free. Money can’t buy me love” (The Beatles).
We read, in Matthew 26:7, about a woman who anointed Jesus with “very expensive fragrant oil.”
What are we to say about all of this? - It’s not about repaying the Lord for His love for us. It’s about expressing our love for Him. It’s about worship.
Where does worship begin? - “Seek the Lord... He will freely forgive” (Isaiah 55:7).
How does the love of Christ reach us and change us? You feel like you’re lost. The love of Christ says, “You can be found,” This is the message of Jesus’ parables of the lost sheep, the lost coin and the lost son (Luke 15) - three parables, one message.
It’s not so much about us - our seeking the Lord and finding Him. It’s about the Lord. He seeks us and finds us.
In Matthew 26, we read about a woman who worshipped the Lord, and a man who betrayed Him.
Worship or betrayal? Which will it be?
* How do we worship the Lord? - We wor…

21st July: Isaiah 54:1-17

Singing with joy (Isaiah 54:1) - Our song comes from the Lord. Our joy comes from the Lord. From ourselves, there is sin. From the Lord, there is salvation. “Through the love of God our Saviour, all will be well ... All is well ... All must be well.” So much blessing is ours, because Jesus is crucified, risen and exalted.
On the Cross, Jesus was forsaken by God so that we might be forgiven by God. At the Cross, He was brought low so that we might be lifted up. From the Cross, Jesus calls out to us.
In love, He speaks to us. His love is the greatest love of all. His love is “everlasting love” (Isaiah 54:8).
This is where our song of joy comes from. It comes from His everlasting love.
In the Old Testament, we see the rainbow (Isaiah 54:9). It’s a reminder of God’s great love for us.
In the New Testament, we have bread and wine - God’s way of reminding us that He loves us so much that He gave his Son, Jesus, to die on the cross for us.
Through Jesus, we have “peace with God” (I…

20th July: Isaiah 52:13-53:12

Jesus spoke about His death and resurrection (Matthew 16:21). This is prophecy. What we have here is even more remarkable. We read this, and we think that this must have been written after Jesus’ death. This is the work of the Spirit of God. He sees what lies ahead. He describes these events, as if they had already happened. This is more than a description of what was going to happen. It’s an explanation of the meaning of the death of Christ.
Is there a look beyond His death to His resurrection? Yes! “He will see His seed, He will prolong His days, and the will of the Lord will succeed by His hand” (Isaiah 53:10).
When these words were first spoken, people must have wondered, “What does all this mean?” They must have wondered about Jesus, when He started talking about His resurrection - “What is He talking about?”
When Jesus died for us, and then rose from the dead, everything fell into place. This was what Isaiah and Jesus had been speaking about.

19th July: Isaiah 49:1-13

God is calling us to listen to Him, and to pay attention to what He says to us (Isaiah 49:1). He's calling us to be His torches. We're to shine for Him - "I will also make you a light to the nations" (Isaiah 49:6).
What kind of light are we to be? We're to be His light. We don't make ourselves a light to the nations. It's the Lord who makes us a light to the nations.
God's light is the light of His "salvation." We're "to be His salvation to the ends of the earth" (Isaiah 49:6).
What does God say to us bout His salvation? - "This is what the Lord says, I will answer you in a time of favour, and I will help you in the day of salvation" (Isaiah 49:8). "Now is the day of salvation" (2 Corinthians 6:2).
Today, God speaks to us of His Son. Today, God speaks to us of our Saviour. Today and every day  - God has something new to say to us about our Saviour.
His great message of love is not to be kept to o…

18th July: Isaiah 42:1-9

Through Jesus Christ, God’s Servant, God’s Son, our Saviour, God calls us to be saved by Him and to become His servants. We’re to be “a light to the nations” (Isaiah 42:60.
All the glory belongs to Him (Isaiah 42:8).
He will lead us forward into great blessing: “new events” (Isaiah 42:9). This directs our attention to Jesus.
We now look back to Jesus - but we also look forward from Him to the glorious future He is preparing for us. Here, on earth, we have “a foretaste of glory divine.” In heaven, it will be the real thing.

17th July: Isaiah 40:12-31

The greatness of God
* He is great in Himself. Before the world was created, God is great: “In the beginning, God....” (Genesis 1:1).
* He is great for us. This is the great message that comes to us from Isaiah 40:28-31.
God is great in love. God is great in power. God is great in holiness. God is great in faithfulness.
* Love - “God is love” (1 John 4:16); “God so loved the world...” (John 3:16); “God showed His love for us...” (Romans 5:8).
* Power - the power of God’s love - “kept by the power of God” (1 Peter 1:5); “He is able to keep us from falling” (Jude 24).
* Holiness - God is holy. Through his love and His power, He is working to make us holy. As well as the command - “Be holy”, there is the promise - “You shall be holy.”
* Faithfulness - “Great is Your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22). God is faithful. He will accomplish His purpose in us (1 Thessalonians 5:24).
* Glory - Jude 24-25 and Revelation 1:5-6. God shares His glory with us.

16th July: Isaiah 40:1-11

Comfort (Isaiah 40:1) – This comes from God’s great faithfulness (Lamentations 3:23).
In our past, present and future, we see the faithfulness of God - “His mercies never end. They are new every morning” (Lamentations 3:22-23). Think of God’s faithfulness, and “count your blessings.” Think of this, that and the other blessing (good things in your life) – and don’t forget to thank Him for the greatest blessing of all: Jesus.
– The faithfulness if God is summed up in this: “The Word of our God stands forever” (Isaiah 40:8).
– There’s a New Testament way of saying this: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).
As we move from one year to another year, let’s think about the old and the new.
In His Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), Jesus speaks about the old and the new.
– He tells us that He didn’t come to destroy the Law and Prophets. He came to fulfil them (Matthew 5:17-20). He wasn’t setting aside the Old Testament. He was building on it.
– He…

15th July: Isaiah 35:1-10

Isaiah looks forward to the future. He says that there will be blessing from the Lord. He looks forward to a time of "joy and singing." He says that it will be a night of "the glory of the Lord" (Isaiah 35:2). Isaiah brings Good News to the people - "He will save you" (Isaiah 35:4). This is the Good News: "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners" (1 Timothy 1:15). Those who are saved by the Lord are described by Isaiah as "the redeemed." Once we are "redeemed" or saved by the Lord, we are called to "walk in the Holy Way" (Isaiah 35:8-9). Isaiah's prophecy speaks to us of being saved by the Lord. It speaks of walking with the Lord. It speaks of being with the Lord forevermore. This is the great message of Isaiah 35:10. This is "unending joy." There will be no more "sorrow." This is the completion of our salvation.

14th July: Isaiah 26:1-4

"Trust in the Lord forever .... the Lord is an everlasting rock!" (Isaiah 26:4). Forever, everlasting - We must never lose sight of this eternal perspective.

13th July: Isaiah 25:6-9

Here, we have prophecy, looking forward to Christ's resurrection and His return. We look back to His resurrection - and we look forward to his return. We have "the foretaste of glory divine" - but we still look forward to the complete fulfilment of God's promises: "He will destroy" (Isaiah 25:7-8), "On that day, it will be said ... " (Isaiah 25:9).

12th July: Isaiah 12:1-6

"God is my salvation ... He has become my salvation ... You will joyfully draw water from the springs of salvation" (Isaiah 12:2-3).
To understand the full meaning of salvation, we must look beyond Isaiah, the prophet, to Jesus, the Saviour. The prophets can take us so far - and no further. When they have said all that they have to say, there is more to be said and done. There is One who must come, after all the prophets have spoken all their words. There is Jesus, our Saviour. He is our Saviour. He becomes our Saviour. We drink His living water - His salvation.

11th July: Isaiah 11:1-9

When we read God’s Word, we ask, What can I learn about Jesus, about believing in Him and living for Him?
“The Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him... ” (Isaiah 11:2) - This is about Jesus.It’s about Peter on the Day of Pentecost. It’s about us.
“Wisdom, understanding, counsel, knowledge” - All of these suggest something we know with our minds. Strength speaks to us about acting on what we know.
Where do all these blessings come from? - They come from “the Spirit of the Lord.” Everything that God gives to us is summed up in this: “the Spirit of the Lord.”
Life in the spirit includes both “the fear of the Lord” and trust in the Lord. Life in the Spirit includes both divine revelation and human response.There’s a vital connection between what we say and what we do and what we are. There will be powerful and effective preaching when what we say is backed up by what we do and what we are.

10th July: Isaiah 6:1-13

Serving the Lord arises out of worshipping Him.
* We proclaim His holiness: "Holy, holy, holy... " (Isaiah 6:3).
* We confess our sin: "Woe is me" (Isaiah 6:5) - a personal confession.
Before we can speak the words, "Here am I. Send me" (Isaiah 6:8), we must hear the words, "Your sin has been forgiven" (Isaiah 6:7).
We are to be faithful in speaking God's Word. This involves our lips (Isaiah 6:7). It also involves our lives. Serving the Lord means more than paying lip-service to Him. We are to serve Him with our lives.
Is there any guarantee that we will bear much fruit?
The parable of the sower says that our fruit may be 100, 60 or 30 times what was sown (Matthew 13:23). The parable of the talents says that one talent could become two; two could become four; five could become ten (Matthew 21:14-30).
What does Isaiah 6 say to us about bearing fruit for the Lord?
There is a word of realism. Many people will pay no attention to us an…

The Word of God encourages us to look beyond the here and now.

Isaiah 2:1-5
The Word of God encourages us to look beyond the here and now. It gives us a glimpse of "the last days" (Isaiah 2:2). God knows the end as well as the beginning - and He show it to us (Isaiah 2:2). We say, "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord ... He will teach us about His ways so that we may walk in His paths ... Come and let us walk in the Lord's light" (Isaiah 2:3,5). Our world would be a very different world if more people were looking to the Lord and learning from Him, turning to the Lord and travelling with Him. What about you? Are you looking to the Lord? Are you learning from Him? Are you turning to the Lord? Are you travelling with Him? These are the questions that the Word of God puts to every one of us. Will we give the answer of faith and obedience? I cannot answer this question for you. You cannot answer it for me. Each one of us must answer for ourselves. What will your answer be?

Each of us must make choices ...

Isaiah 1:16-20
Each of us must make choices - not just, What suit, shirt and tie will I put on?
Will I worship the Lord? Or Will I stay at home?
What attitude will I bring with me to church? - "This is just a religious habit” or “This a meeting with God. It will change my way of thinking and living.”
In Isaiah 1:18-20, we read about two very different responses to God - returning to Him or rebelling against Him. When we return to the Lord, this will change the way we relate to other people (Isaiah 1:16-17).
We’re not to be like Judas Iscariot - making money for himself, but paying the ultimate price: “What shall it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his soul? (Matthew 16:26).

Bible Notes by G. Philip

7th July: Psalms 146-150

‘Praise the Lord’. Psalms 146 and 147 began and ended with these words. Now, we find the same beginning and ending in each of these three Psalms - ‘Praise the Lord’. Our personal song of praise to God - ‘Praise be to the Lord my Rock... I will sing a new song to You, O God... I will exalt You, my God the King; I will praise Your Name for ever and ever; Every day I will praise You... My mouth will speak in praise of the Lord... I will praise the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live’ (Psalm 144:1,9; Psalm 145:1-2,21; Psalm 146:2) - is just a small part of something so much richer and fuller - ‘Let everything that has breath praise the Lord’ (Psalm 150:6). May these great Psalms of praise inspire us to praise the Lord more truly and more fully.

6th July: Psalm 143

The Psalmist prays, ‘Rescue me from my enemies, O Lord’ (Psalm 143:9). He is not concerned only about his own welfare. He is concerned about the glory of God: ‘For Your Name’s sake, O Lord, preserve my life’ (Psalm 143:11). How does God lead us in victory? How is He glorified in our lives? He brings to us the teaching of His Word - ‘Let the morning bring me Word of Your unfailing love’ (Psalm 143:8). He gives to us the strength of His Spirit - ‘May Your good Spirit lead me in good paths’ (Psalm 143:10). Through His Word and Spirit, God shows us His ‘unfailing love’. He enables us to say, ‘You are my God’, ‘I have put my trust in You’ and ‘I am Your servant’. He ‘shows us the way we should go’. He ‘teaches us to do His will’. He gives us victory over our ‘enemies’ (Psalm 143:8,10,12).

5th July: Psalms 141-142

The Psalmist continues to emphasize the importance of ‘prayer’ in our battle against ‘evildoers’: ‘My prayer is ever against the deeds of evildoers’ (Psalm 141:5). We pray that their ‘wicked deeds’ will not succeed. We pray that they will see ‘the error of their way’, returning to the Lord and being ‘led in the paths of righteousness for His Name’s sake’ (Psalm 141:5; Psalm 23:3; James 5:19-20). We may feel that our ‘persecutors’ are ‘too strong’ for us. We must never think that ‘no one cares’. We must bring our fear to God, praying, ‘Set me free from my prison, that I may praise Your Name’. Faced with powerful enemies, we must remember this: The Lord is our ‘portion in the land of the living’. In the face of fierce opposition, we must learn to say, ‘Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I shall dwell in the House of the Lord for ever’ (Psalm 142:4-7; Psalm 23:6).

4th July: Psalm 139

Through Christ our Saviour, we are led ‘in the way everlasting’: ‘God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son’ (Psalm 139:24; 1 John 5:11). God’s great purpose of eternal salvation seems ‘too wonderful’ - ‘too good to be true’! ‘It is a thing most wonderful, almost too wonderful to be, that God’s own Son should come from heaven and die to save a child like me, and yet I know that it is true...’ (Psalm 139:6; Church Hymnary, 385). God has a glorious future planned for us. We can hardly even begin to take it in: ‘Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain’. We know that ‘no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him’ yet we rejoice in this: ‘God has revealed it to us by His Spirit’ (Psalm 139:6; 1 Corinthians 2:9-10). ‘Lead me in the way everlasting!’(Psalm 139:24).

3rd July: Psalms 130-131

We are not to pray to God with superficial words that don’t mean very much to us. Our prayer is to be a real cry from the heart: ‘Out of the depths I cry to You, O Lord’ (Psalm 130:1). We are to ‘cry for mercy’ with a deep awareness of how sinful we really are: ‘If You, O Lord, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand?’ (Psalm 130:3). We must come to God with deep humility - ‘My heart is not proud, O Lord’ (Psalm 131:1). When we truly confess our sin, we receive God’s ‘unfailing love’ and ‘forgiveness’ (Psalm 130:4). ‘In the Lord’ we have ‘full redemption’ (Psalm 130:7). It is for ‘now’ - ‘The vilest offender who truly believes, that moment from Jesus a pardon receives’. It is ‘for evermore’ - ‘But purer and higher and greater will be our wonder, our transport, when Jesus we see!’. ‘Praise the Lord!... Give Him the glory!’ (Psalm 131:3; Church Hymnary, 374).

2nd July: Psalms 125-127

‘Those who trust in the Lord... cannot be moved...’. Whenwe put our trust in the Lord, we are like the ‘wise man who built his house on the rock’. His house ‘did not fall because it had its foundation on the rock’. When we do not put our trust in the Lord, we are like ‘the foolish man who built his house on sand’. His house ‘fell with a great crash’. ‘Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labour in vain’ (Psalm 125:1; Psalm 127:1; Matthew 7:24-27). ‘Jesus Christ’ is the ‘sure Foundation’ upon which our faith is built. He is ‘the solid Rock’, our ‘mighty Rock of spiritual refreshment’ (1 Corinthians 3:11; 10:3-4; Church Hymnary, 10,411). ‘Christ died for our sins... He was raised on the third day’. Let us rejoice in Him: ‘The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy’ (Psalm 126:3; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4).