Psalms 33:15 | Complete Perfection

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What is the greatest thing you have ever created? It is an interesting question because there are so many ways to answer the question. I am not an artisan or an engineer so my physical creations are not all that great. I am happy with some of the things I have built, but great is not a word I would use. I like to write but those creations are a work in progress. My children are a great creation, the greatest, but biology is more involved in that creation than the work of my mind and hands. Oddly what does jump out as an answer is one of the early software development efforts I was assigned. I was given a task to modify the check printing software of the company to be able to print checks in French Canadian. Building logic to write out any number like “one hundred fifty-two” in French with all the nuance of that language on the payment line was something I was excited to create.

How does God answer this question about the greatest thing you have ever created? Would he pick a particular animal? What galaxy or star would be his greatest? What about the unseen beauty of the structure of DNA or the atomic level? My creation was just a replication of something that already existed. God creates from nothing out of nothing and the amazing functionality and beauty of his creation is a depth I can’t express.

24 And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds—livestock and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds.” And it was so. Genesis 1:24 ESV

My software creation was confirming to an expected standard using an existing tool. Check writing has fixed rules of right and wrong. God on the other hand speaks animals into creation and he created the rules of right and wrong at the same time while using no tools other than his mighty word. God’s creation is not only perfect but consistent according to his plans for his creation.

So, what is God’s greatest Creation? For a being that is perfect I would think that whatever was planned first is the greatest. God tells us what was planned first from the very start.

15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. Colossians 1:15-16 ESV

Paul in this verse is talking about Jesus. Jesus is the firstborn and through him God creates everything. More than that God also uses this greatest creation to reconcile mankind unto himself. What we broke about the creation with our free will already had a fix in place. It is amazing that God knew in advance that Jesus would be needed to complete creation and so he was created first. Jesus is the greatest creation and he is the completion of creation.

My awesome software creation is broken but I had no idea. My changes were ultimately a waste of time. Only after I was complete did I realize that it would have been acceptable to simply place the number “152” on the payment line. The tables and lines of code I had in place with all the French words and sequences were not even needed. Worse yet 20 years later that code is obsolete and not even being used anymore.

Jesus suffers no such waste. His death on the cross completes the creation plan with the rules of our being and through him we have purpose. God has set right and wrong in our being. God is actively involved in all our lives from the beginning of time to the end time.

13 The Lord looks down from heaven; he sees all the children of man; 14 from where he sits enthroned he looks out on all the inhabitants of the earth, 15 he who fashions the hearts of them all and observes all their deeds. Psalms 33:13-15 ESV

God knows everything. He knows our hearts. He knows our selfishness. He knows our every thought. The Palmist writes he “fashions the hearts” of us all. The Palmist also writes that our every day is known by God.

14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. 16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. Psalms 139:14;16 ESV

He has formed you. He has involved himself in the life he has given. He has created the perfect reconciliation and the perfect purpose for life if we surrender it all back to him. Thank him as Father, Creator, and King. Give him all that is his to begin with. Christ only always.

Jesus Got Married

Psalm 45 is a wedding song that points to a divine King with an eternal kingdom. This king is blessed beyond any other king and hold favor from God like none before or after. This king is going to be married.

6 Your throne, O God, is forever and ever. The scepter of your kingdom is a scepter of uprightness; 7 you have loved righteousness and hated wickedness. Therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions; Psalm 45:6-7 ESV

The Bride is of royalty herself and a subject of the king. She will bow to the king and be a part of his kingdom going forward.

9 daughters of kings are among your ladies of honor; at your right hand stands the queen in gold of Ophir. 10 Hear, O daughter, and consider, and incline your ear: forget your people and your father’s house, 11 and the king will desire your beauty. Since he is your lord, bow to him. Psalm 45:9-11 ESV

This marriage speaks of a unique King and Bride because they will rule eternally. There is only one eternal King and his name is Jesus. The idea that Jesus will be married is a shock to some since it is well known Jesus did not take a wife when he was on earth. God’s plans and future for His perfect kingdom are documented in advance and Psalm 45 is the song He had written in advance of the wedding day. So, the question one might have is what Bride would be worthy of Jesus? What bride will spend eternity ruling with Christ?

1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. Revelation 21:1-3 ESV

The new Jerusalem prepared as a “bride adorned” for her husband. A holy Kingdom where Christ is married to the people in the city where “the dwelling place of God is with man”.

Paul builds on this truth throughout his letters. He plainly tells the church to be faithful as one who is engaged to be married. Paul also brings forth the promises that a dutiful husband holds in laying down his life for his wife.

31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. Ephesians 5:31-32 ESV

For I feel a divine jealousy for you, since I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ. 2 Corinthians 11:2 ESV

If you call Christ Lord, then know he is your eternal King and you will be joined with Him in heaven. Be faithful, purse holiness, and flee from the distractions of this temporary world. The new Jerusalem is where he will rule and it is where the joy of a perfect union will be found.

 Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust, who does not turn to the proud, to those who go astray after a lie! Psalm 40:4 ESV

Jesus the Forsaken

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Psalm 22 is a powerful song of suffering and encouragement. The author must have suffered beyond what any normal person might experience or the author may have internalized the witness of someone else who suffered greatly. The introduction from verse one jumps off the page to grab ahold of the reader.

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning? Psalm 22:1 ESV

What is more is that these words are familiar and famous to many modern-day consumers because they were also spoken by Jesus himself while slowly dying on the Cross.

45 Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour. 46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Matthew 27:45-46 ESV

The weight of these words and those that follow in Psalm 22 are overwhelming. Walter Kaiser in his book Messiah in the Old Testament quotes from Charles Briggs a truth about Psalm 22 being “more vivid in [the] realization of that dreadful scene than the story of the Gospels”. If the reader would take a few moments dwell on Psalm 22 in the quiet of the morning I too think one might come to a similar conclusion.

So how is it that a song attributed to King David written 1,000 years before Jesus died on that Cross could be so vividly descriptive and accurate? Let us read a few more verses into Psalm 22 further adding weight to this question…

16 For dogs encompass me; a company of evildoers encircles me; they have pierced my hands and feet— 17 I can count all my bones—they stare and gloat over me; 18 they divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots. Psalm 22:16-18 ESV

35 And when they had crucified him, they divided his garments among them by casting lots. Matthew 27:35 ESV

One may deny God and claim He is not real but unlike the ramblings of a Nostradamus prophecy Jesus himself is speaking to each of us from this Psalm. Hundreds of years before Roman crucifixions David pens the thoughts and mind of Christ while he is hanging on the cross. Overwhelming is the reality that God who created and controls time itself reveals to David the future salvation of mankind. Where there is a Creation there is a Creator and that Creator laid out before David the beginning, the middle, and the end. How blessed we are to be living within the great mercy of such a Creator.

27 All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations shall worship before you. 28 For kingship belongs to the Lord, and he rules over the nations. Psalms 22:27-28 ESV

How can David conclude this Psalm of suffering and death with such a proclamation of a triumphant king if that king is so horribly forsaken and defeated? How can all the nations be ruled by such a Lord? Because David knows God is in control and in the same way God has rescued David in the past David knows that Jesus will be ultimately triumphant.

9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure. 10 For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption. Psalm 16:9-10 ESV

David in writing this proclaims a resurrection, an uncorrupted king, of Jesus without the final awful finality of death. Jesus will be made alive and thus completing his work of taking my sins, our sins, on that cross. This is the good news, the gospel, of Jesus that Christians proclaim today. Jesus has the power to reconcile individuals with God and with their fellow man. Jesus was forsaken so that you do not need to be. So repent of your own ways and follow His call.

29 “Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30 Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne, 31 he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption. 32 This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses. Acts 2:29-32 ESV

Rejecting Jesus

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Jesus, who is God, understands rejection. Jesus was rejected while on earth to the point that people demanded that his life be ended. That is the ultimate rejection. Jesus who promised salvation to restore the relationship of mankind with God is rejected every day even thousands of years later. Imagine pouring love and creativity into something and then have that creation tell you “no”.

19 Open for me the gates of the righteous; I will enter and give thanks to the Lord. 20 This is the gate of the Lord through which the righteous may enter. 21 I will give you thanks, for you answered me; you have become my salvation. 22 The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; 23 the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes. 24 The Lord has done it this very day; let us rejoice today and be glad. Psalm 118:19-24 NIV

Psalm 118 a worshipful song that foretells a rejected Jesus pivots on the idea that Jesus is rejected “the stone the builders rejected” but yet the song continues the refrain “his love endures forever”.

Psalm 118 is a worship song where a worship leader would shout “Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;” and a reply from the worshipers would be “His steadfast love endures forever.”

2 Let Israel say, “His steadfast love endures forever.” 3 Let the house of Aaron say, “His steadfast love endures forever.” 4 Let those who fear the Lord say, “His steadfast love endures forever.” Psalm 118:2-4 ESV

God has taken this rejected stone and made it the cornerstone of salvation. This stone is the key to restoring the relationship between God and man forever. The Psalmist sings “it is marvelous in our eyes” to see what the Lord has accomplished. Both Jesus and his Disciple Peter quote from this song when speaking to the elite privileged people, the builders, of the day.

42 Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: “‘The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes’? 43 “Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit. Matthew 21:42-43 NIV

Jesus angers the Pharisees by telling them that he is the rejected stone and that the kingdom of God will be built on him and not on the power and ambition of their leadership. Peter when charged by the local court of disturbing the peace tells them plainly that their authority and power has come to an end.

10 then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. 11 Jesus is “‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone.’ 12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:10-12 NIV

Peter tells the ruling elite that they can’t create a healthcare plan perfect enough to replace the cornerstone they rejected. Trump can’t save, Hillary can’t save, ObamaCare can’t save. Government cannot save for there is only one name under heaven “by which we must be saved” and that name does not start with president or senator. That name is the name of the rejected cornerstone “Jesus”.

Jesus leading up to his acknowledgment as the rejected cornerstone tells a parable about rejection. It is a parable of two brothers and how they treat their father.

28 “What do you think? A man had two sons. And he went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’ 29 And he answered, ‘I will not,’ but afterward he changed his mind and went. 30 And he went to the other son and said the same. And he answered, ‘I go, sir,’ but did not go. Matthew 21:28-30 ESV

The first Son rejects his father when asked to work in the vineyard. The second son promises to work in the vineyard but never goes. Jesus understands rejection because all men have rejected him either to his face or through lies. The Psalmist sings “Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!” (Psalm 118:1 ESV) and that is who Jesus is. The Lord’s love endures in spite of all the rejection we have sent his way. The good news is that we have an opportunity to be like the first son who because of Christ being the cornerstone foundation changes his mind to be obedient to his father. What a joyous blessing that day will be for the first son when returning home from the vineyard. He will be reconciled in righteousness to the father. Jesus provides that opportunity to all of us who have rejected him. The only question then is will we respond to that invitation?

 

Everything is Awesome… When it comes to God’s Word.

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The Bible. To the unfamiliar it is a dusty old book, it is written in a language of thee and thou that is hard to understand. To those that were raised in church and had a bad experience with unrepentant people who should not have been in leadership positions the Bible might be familiar, but not understood. Maybe it is only an acquaintance, but not something absorbed. Worse still maybe it is viewed just as a collection of fairy tells and parables, but of no real value in the world of technology and science. Maybe for some of you, Lord be merciful, it is a book that you hate and want nothing to do with. Perception is a type of reality for those of you that identify with the above descriptions. If that is your reality then I have a request. In fact I would plead with you to give the Bible a chance. I beg of you see what God’s Word says for itself, not what others have said about it. Eternity is at stake if what the Bible wants to communicate is true. In short the Bible is an awesome, mind blowing, love letter from the Creator of the universe to the crown of His creation you and me.

The Bible is not a single book. The mainline protestant Bible is a collection of 66 books that were written over a period of 2,000 years. Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek are the languages that make up the 66 books. Even more interestingly there are 40 authors who wrote from three different continents. Considering the diversity in people, geography, and the time spans it is even more amazing that the Bible is a consistent narrative from the Creation in Genesis, to the end of times in Revelations to make it seem as if it is a single book. There is nothing like the Bible anywhere else on Earth. It is a unique work that has been translated into over 2,000 languages and has been printed more than any other book in history. This book claims to be the Words of God the Creator and it is a knowledge base that deserves first hand attention from each individual.

None of the above facts are a surprise to me knowing that the same God capable of creating the universe is also capable of creating a masterpiece of communication to his children so that we can know who he is, what we have done to His Creation, and what He has done to restore us to Himself.

How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments! I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. Blessed are you, O Lord; teach me your statutes! With my lips I declare all the rules of your mouth. In the way of your testimonies I delight as much as in all riches. I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways. I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word. Psalms 119:9-16 ESV

This Psalmist sings about the excitement he has for the Words of God and the desire he has to memorize, meditate, and live life according to what he finds there. Is it possible to love the words of a book so much? Is the Creator God so spectacular that life can be found within the pages of what this God has plainly communicated? I can only ask, and plead that you see for yourself.

God’s Word is better than a diamond, better than a diamond set between emeralds. You’ll like it better than strawberries in spring, better than red, ripe strawberries. Psalm 19:10 MSG

In Psalm 19 the author communicates how valuable and how desirable the Bible is to those that spend time exploring its depths. It is better than a diamond set between emeralds, meaning that the Word of God is more valuable than stacks of cash and even more beautiful than the most stunning jewelry. The author goes even further when he tells us that God’s Word is sweeter and more nourishing than even the most perfect fruit we could lay eyes on. When one goes to look at the original Hebrew for the translation “God’s Word is better” we find a Hebrew word that is used to communicate “Desire” in the most raw and personal way. What is it that you desire most in life? Money, Sex, Relationships, Treasure, Power, or Fame? Whatever you desire the Psalmist is saying that God’s Word is better, God’s Word is more fulfilling, and that God’s Word is more than all you could ever want. This song writer is saying that he would give up wealth, fame, luxury for the words of God. Will you take time to see what this book has to say? Could it really be that awesome? Would you set your preconceptions aside to read it for yourself?

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. James 1:5-8 ESV

If there was something that God did not know, or if there was something that God needed to learn then He would no longer be God. As Creator of everything including the laws of nature God is Awesome. Everything he tells us is Awesome. He has perfect wisdom, knowledge, and understanding. His knowledge of human nature is perfect, and His knowledge of you, my friend, is perfect. Seek him out for wisdom. Read his word, the Bible, for understanding. Trust me you will be amazed at the content and depth of His Words.

Be careful that you do not refuse to listen to the One who is speaking. For if the people of Israel did not escape when they refused to listen to Moses, the earthly messenger, we will certainly not escape if we reject the One who speaks to us from heaven! Hebrews 12:25 NLT

In the narrative of the Bible, God’s Words, He tells us that men and women from the beginning have been in rebellion refusing to listen, or be involved with God. We have broken His laws and have lied, stolen from, and killed our brothers and sisters. Our very nature wants to run and hide from the Bible, because it is God’s Word. Jesus, who is God in the flesh, has told us that he came to earth to seek and save the lost. I am the lost and in need of saving. Jesus is my salvation and it is his words that have been communicated in this collection of 66 books, written over a period of 2,000 years. The Author of Hebrews warns us to not reject these words from Heaven, from Jesus, who is God the Creator. The Bible is Awesome, because its author is awesome. Please take some time to see what God himself wants to say to you.