The King Trusts in the Lord

"THE KING TRUSTS IN THE LORD"

By Wayne S. Walker

     "For the king trusts in the LORD, and through the mercy of the Most High he shall not be moved" (Psalm 21:7).  Oh that this were the case today!  We understand that our nation is not set up like Old Testament Israel with the civil and the religious intertwined, but our first amendment guarantee of freedom of religion does not necessarily demand that our government be completely secular and refuse to acknowledge our dependence on God.  Even our founding documents recognize that "…all Men are created equal, and that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights…."  Whatever their faults, our founding fathers trusted in the Lord!

     However, this is not always the case today.  If a conservative, Bible-believing President suggests that He truly looks to the Lord for guidance, the liberals in our society hoot, and holler, and laugh at what they scornfully view as such benighted ignorance.  Yet, when election time rolls around, these same liberals, seeing that a vast number of the American people are basically conservative and religious, all of a sudden "get religion" or at least hire advisors to help them make inroads among churchgoers (to get their vote!), all the while continuing to support abortion, promote homosexual rights, and take other positions that are clearly anti-Biblical.  "They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him…" (Titus 1:16).

     It is important for us to remember "that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever He chooses" (Daniel 4:32).  Government is ordained of God, and while God may not necessarily approve of all governments, no government can exist without His permission.  At the same time, while no government is perfect because each one is made up of fallible human beings, the Bible is clear that when a government and the people under its rule truly trust in the Lord, they will be blessed. 

     "Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people" (Proverbs 14:34).  We recognize that no civil ruler, political party, or form of government can make us right with God–only Jesus Christ can do that.  However, it should behoove Christians to seek out and support people in government who will stand up for and promote righteousness rather than those who endorse and encourage sin.  And we should pray that our leaders will trust in the Lord and that through the mercy of the Most High they will not be moved.  

“Are You Trusting in Chariots?”

ARE YOU TRUSTING IN CHARIOTS?

By Wayne S. Walker

     "Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; but we will remember the name of the LORD our God" (Psalm 20:7).  The horses and chariots of the Egyptian army made Egypt one of the strongest military powers of the ancient world.  However, such physical might was of absolutely no avail against the hand of Almighty God, and it was completely unable to keep the Israelites from crossing the Red Sea into freedom.  That "some trust in chariots" has become indicative of the fact that many trust in various forms of human strength rather than trusting in the Lord our God.

     We certainly cannot trust in our own human goodness to save us because, in the absolute sense, "There is none who does good, no, not one" (Romans 3:12).  The reason for this is "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23).  Yes, God wants us to be good, but it is not our own goodness that saves us, because any good things that we might do will not and cannot make up for the sins which we have committed.  Instead, we can only be "justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus" (Romans 3:24).

     Neither can we trust in human gimmicks to make the church grow.  Jesus did not say, "Go into all the world and provide food, fun, and frolic," but "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature" (Mark 16:15).  Why?  It is because "the gospel of Christ…is the power of God to salvation" (Romans 1:16).  Therefore, we need to understand that "the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking" (Romans 14:17).  Of course, we need to eat and drink, but such things are to be done on an individual basis and by the home, not part of the church’s work.

     Nor can we trust in human wisdom to guide our lives as Christians.  "It is not in man who walks to direct his steps" (Jeremiah 10:23).  There is much thinking and teaching in this world which passes for "wisdom" but as Paul noted, "the world through wisdom did not know God" (1 Corinthians 1:21).  As we seek to make judgments as to what is right and wrong, we cannot depend on the wisdom of this world.  Indeed, we are warned, "Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ" (Colossians 2:7).  Instead, we must follow the wisdom of our Creator revealed in His word.

My Mouth and My Heart

MY MOUTH AND MY HEART

By Wayne S. Walker  

     "Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my strength and my Redeemer" (Psalm 19:14).  We speak with our mouths and think with our hearts.  "For as he thinks in his heart, so is he…" (Proverbs 23:7).  It is certainly possible for one to think something in his heart and not speak it.  It is also possible, at least somewhat, for a person to say something with his mouth and not really be thinking about it.  We sometimes talk about those who step on the accelerator pedal of their mouths without fully putting their minds in gear.  However, even in such circumstances, what the mouth speaks is an indication of what is in the heart or mind (Matthew 12:33-37, 15:19-20).

     This principle needs to be applied whenever we speak to others.  What we say to people does have an impact upon them.  That is why Paul said, "Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers" (Ephesians 4:29).  Rather than allowing speech that will hurt and tear down, we should follow Paul’s instruction, "Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one" (Colossians 4:6).  By maintaining purity of heart and thought, we shall be more likely to maintain purity of speech.

     This principle can also be applied to our prayers, especially those in public.  It is easy for one leading in prayer, and those who are supposed to be listening to it, to be speaking or hearing words but in reality letting their minds wander all over creation.  This is similar to Jesus’s observation, "These people draw near to Me with their mouths, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me" (Matthew 15:8).  Yes, when we pray, we must make sure that the words of our mouths are in harmony with God’s will, but even then if they are not true reflections of the thought in our hearts, they will be nothing more than vain repetitions (Matthew 6:7).

     It applies to our singing too.  Singing is defined as speaking words to music.  In our singing, we are "speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs" (Ephesians 5:19).  However, at the same time, each one is to be "singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord" (Colossians 3:16).  Therefore, we need to be thinking about the words that we are saying in order for our singing to be acceptable in the sight of the Lord.  

Three Reasons to Trust in the Lord

THREE REASONS TO TRUST IN THE LORD

By Wayne S.  Walker     

     "As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the LORD is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him" (Psalm 18:30).  Beginning with the belief that there must be a God who dwells in heaven, because someone had to create everything that we see and know, there naturally arises a number of questions about Him.  Who is He?  What is He like?  How can we know Him?  And the one answered by the verse from Psalm 18 that was just quoted, why should we trust Him?

     The first reason given is that "His way is perfect."  The one who created us and whom we serve is not some flawed personality, like ancient pagan gods created in the image of fallen man, but being so much greater and more powerful than we are is a perfect being who serves as an example for us and sets forth a goal for us to reach.  We know that God is perfect in His love for all mankind, so Jesus tells us, "Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect" (Matthew 5:48).  Furthermore, this God has a way for us to go.  "Because strait is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and few there be that find it" (Matthew 7:14).  Because God is perfect, the way that He wants us to go is perfect and leads to everlasting life.

     The second reason is that "the word of the LORD is proven."  The word "proven" means "refined."  The pure gold is "proven" when it is "refined" so that the impurities can be taken away.  Over and over again, God’s word has been proven.  Since the time when God’s final revelation was completed, evil men have done their very best to stamp it out, but in spite of their combined efforts, the word of God still stands and by untold millions is yet welcomed "not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God" (1 Thessalonians 2:13).  Also, it has been proven time and again in the lives of those who accept it and live by it as something by which "the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work" (2 Timothy 3:17).

     The third reason given is that "He is a shield to all who trust in Him."  An ancient soldier needed offensive weapons to win the battle, but he also needed a shield to protect him from the swords, arrows, and spears of the enemy.  Abraham had many enemies in the land of Canaan, but God told him, "I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward" (Genesis 15:1).  Our God has provided us a spiritual shield as well.  "Above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one" (Ephesians 6:16).  

“The Apple of Your Eye”

"THE APPLE OF YOUR EYE"

By Wayne S. Walker

     "Keep me as the apple of Your eye; hide me under the shadow of Your wings" (Psalm 17:8).  March is the month when spring arrives.  We usually think of apples primarily in relation to late summer and fall, but we all know that in order for apple trees to produce fruit later on, they have to blossom in the spring.  There is nothing prettier (or nicer smelling) than an orchard of apple blossoms in the spring.  So, while we gather apples in the fall, the spring season is very important to the development of the apple tree as well.

     There is an important lesson in this for us.  If the apple tree did nothing until fall, there would be no apples.  If we do nothing now, there will be no positive result later on.  From a physical standpoint, we understand that if we want to have a garden full of good vegetables in the fall, we have to prepare the garden and plant the seeds in the spring.  From a family standpoint, we understand that if we want to have children who love and serve the Lord, we have to teach them when they are young.  From a spiritual standpoint, we must understand that if we want the word of the Lord to bear fruit, then we have to do something to see that it is spread.

     Jesus tells us that if the seed is planted in good and honest hearts it will bring forth fruit (Luke 8:15).  However, someone has to sow the seed.  Jesus intends that His disciples to do this work (John 4:35-38).  Therefore, it should be the responsibility of each child of God to plant and water as he or she has ability and opportunity (1 Corinthians 3:6-8).  Also, it should be obvious that the more people who sow the seed, and the more seed that each one sows, the more fruit will be brought forth.  That is why Paul said, "But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully" (2 Corinthians 9:7).

     The old poem said, "Spring is sprung, The grass is riz, I wonder where The flowers is."  Burma Shave altered that to read, "Spring is spring, The grass is riz Where last year’s Careless driver is."  In an odd sort of way, this reminds us that we need to use the spring time–whether the spring of the year in planting or the spring of our time now in working for the Lord–to prepare for the future.  If we stick to our goals and use our time wisely, God promises that He will keep us as the apple of His eye and hide us under the shadow of His wings.

“You Will Not Leave My Soul in Sheol”

"YOU WILL NOT LEAVE MY SOUL IN SHEOL"

By Wayne S. Walker

     "For You will not leave my soul in Sheol, nor will will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption" (Psalm 16:10).  The sixteenth Psalm is "A Michtam of David."  Exactly what that means is a subject of debate among scholars, but the thought of the Psalm itself is fairly clear.  There were some times when David was guided by the Holy Spirit to make specific prophecies of the Messiah.  There were other times when David wrote of situations and circumstances in his own life.  Yet, there are also a few times when these two threads seem to intertwine, and that appears to be the case here in Psalm 16.

      David begins the Psalm by asking God to preserve him as he seems to be somewhat troubled by those who hasten after another God.  As for David, he will consider the Lord as the portion of his inheritance and bless only Jehovah.  As a result, his heart is glad and his flesh will rest in hope because he knows that ultimately his soul will not be left in Sheol and he would not see permanent corruption.  Thus, while we do not have a lot of specific information revealed in the Old Testament, it would seem that David did have the hope of the resurrection at the end of time (cf. 2 Samuel 12:19-23).

     Yet, there is more here than just that.  David knew that it would be his descendant who would come as the Messiah, build God’s house, and sit on the throne (2 Samuel 7:12-13).  Therefore, as the basis for his own hope, David looked forward to the resurrection of the Messiah, that His soul would not be left in Sheol and His flesh not see corruption.  That is certainly what Peter, by inspiration, saw in this passage.  After proclaiming the resurrection of Christ, the apostle quoted from Psalm 16, which he said, "David says concerning Him," and concludes that David "spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ" (Acts 2:22-31).

      Some might refer to this concept as a "dual application."  Peter noted that when he himself spoke David was still dead and buried; indeed his tomb was still with them.  Therefore, he concluded that there must be some meaning to the statement beyond David’s own life.  The reason why we can accept this conclusion is that David himself understood that the Messiah would be the fruit of his own body so that things that happened to David would be typical of the coming Messiah. 

“The Lord’s Tabernacle”

THE LORD’S TABERNACLE

By Wayne S. Walker

     "LORD, who may abide in Your tabernacle?  Who may dwell in Your holy hill?" (Psalm 15:1).  Many people when they see or hear the word "tabernacle" immediately think of a place of worship.  Many denominational churches use the term in their name, such as "Bible Tabernacle."  However, the basic meaning of the word "tabernacle" in the original language was simply a temporary shelter, such as a tent, booth, hut, lean-to, or something like that.  During the "feast of the tabernacles" the people of Israel were commanded to make booths in which they would dwell to remind them that they were sojourners in the wilderness (Leviticus 23:34, 41-43).

     Of course, there was a tabernacle—a tentlike, temporary shelter–that was built for use as a place of worship while the Israelites wandered in the wilderness (Exodus 39:32).  Its purpose was to represent the presence of God among the people of Israel (Exodus 25:8).  Continuing to be used through the times of the conquest, judges, and reigns of Saul and David, it was finally replaced as the gathering place for the nation by Solomon’s temple (2 Samuel 8:4-6).  Therefore, the concepts of "tabernacle" and "temple" are often used synonymously.

     As Orville J. Nave noted in his Topical Bible, in Psalm 15:1, the tabernacle was used as a "symbol of spiritual things."  This is also true of the usage made of the term in the book of Hebrews.  A reading of Hebrews 8:1-5 and 9:1-12 and 24, leads to the conclusion that in the tabernacle’s serving as a copy and shadow of heavenly things, the inner room or most holy place obviously represents heaven, so the outer room or the holy place must represent the church here on earth.  In both instances, the emphasis is on God’s presence among men and men’s resultant relationship with Him, first in the church here on earth and then later in heaven.

     Thus, back to the Psalm, the inspired writer is describing in general terms the kind of character that one must possess to have fellowship with God here on earth and the hope of being with Him in heaven.  "He who walks uprightly….He who does not backbite with his tongue,…in whose eyes a vile person is despised….He who does not put out his money at usury…."   God has a certain standard of behavior which He demands of those who would be His people in this world and can expect to dwell with Him in His eternal home.  Does this describe you and me?