Friday, May 9, 2008

2 Samuel 22

"The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;

my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield and the horn of my salvation.
He is my stronghold, my refuge and my savior—
from violent men you save me.

I call to the LORD, who is worthy of praise,
and I am saved from my enemies.

"The waves of death swirled about me;
the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me.

The cords of the grave coiled around me;
the snares of death confronted me.

In my distress I called to the LORD;
I called out to my God.
From his temple he heard my voice;
my cry came to his ears.

"The earth trembled and quaked,
the foundations of the heavens shook;
they trembled because he was angry.

Smoke rose from his nostrils;
consuming fire came from his mouth,
burning coals blazed out of it.

He parted the heavens and came down;
dark clouds were under his feet.

He mounted the cherubim and flew;
he soared on the wings of the wind.

He made darkness his canopy around him—
the dark rain clouds of the sky.

Out of the brightness of his presence
bolts of lightning blazed forth.

The LORD thundered from heaven;
the voice of the Most High resounded.

He shot arrows and scattered the enemies ,
bolts of lightning and routed them.

The valleys of the sea were exposed
and the foundations of the earth laid bare
at the rebuke of the LORD,
at the blast of breath from his nostrils.

"He reached down from on high and took hold of me;
he drew me out of deep waters.

He rescued me from my powerful enemy,
from my foes, who were too strong for me.

They confronted me in the day of my disaster,
but the LORD was my support.

He brought me out into a spacious place;
he rescued me because he delighted in me.

"The LORD has dealt with me according to my righteousness;
according to the cleanness of my hands he has rewarded me.

For I have kept the ways of the LORD;
I have not done evil by turning from my God.

All his laws are before me;
I have not turned away from his decrees.

I have been blameless before him
and have kept myself from sin.

The LORD has rewarded me according to my righteousness,
according to my cleanness in his sight.

"To the faithful you show yourself faithful,
to the blameless you show yourself blameless,

to the pure you show yourself pure,
but to the crooked you show yourself shrewd.

You save the humble,
but your eyes are on the haughty to bring them low.

You are my lamp, O LORD;
the LORD turns my darkness into light.

With your help I can advance against a troop ;
with my God I can scale a wall.

"As for God, his way is perfect;
the word of the LORD is flawless.
He is a shield
for all who take refuge in him.

For who is God besides the LORD ?
And who is the Rock except our God?

It is God who arms me with strength
and makes my way perfect.

He makes my feet like the feet of a deer;
he enables me to stand on the heights.

He trains my hands for battle;
my arms can bend a bow of bronze.

You give me your shield of victory;
you stoop down to make me great.

You broaden the path beneath me,
so that my ankles do not turn.

"I pursued my enemies and crushed them;
I did not turn back till they were destroyed.

I crushed them completely, and they could not rise;
they fell beneath my feet.

You armed me with strength for battle;
you made my adversaries bow at my feet.

You made my enemies turn their backs in flight,
and I destroyed my foes.

They cried for help, but there was no one to save them—
to the LORD, but he did not answer.

I beat them as fine as the dust of the earth;
I pounded and trampled them like mud in the streets.

"You have delivered me from the attacks of my people;
you have preserved me as the head of nations.
People I did not know are subject to me,

and foreigners come cringing to me;
as soon as they hear me, they obey me.

They all lose heart;
they come trembling from their strongholds.

"The LORD lives! Praise be to my Rock!
Exalted be God, the Rock, my Savior!

He is the God who avenges me,
who puts the nations under me,

who sets me free from my enemies.
You exalted me above my foes;
from violent men you rescued me.

Therefore I will praise you, O LORD, among the nations;
I will sing praises to your name.

He gives his king great victories;
he shows unfailing kindness to his anointed,
to David and his descendants forever."

Praise the Lord.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

From unbelief to amazement

I read again this morning the account of the resurrection in Luke 24.

But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb, taking the spices that they had prepared. 2 They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3 but when they went in, they did not find the body. 4 While they were perplexed about this, suddenly two men in dazzling clothes stood beside them. 5 The women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. 6 Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, 7 that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again.” 8 Then they remembered his words, 9 and returning from the tomb, they told all this to the eleven and to all the rest. 10 Now it was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them who told this to the apostles. 11 But these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. 12 But Peter got up and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; then he went home, amazed at what had happened
Verse 11 tells us that at first hearing of the resurrection from Mary and others, 'they did not believe them'. But what was most interesting to read was not so much verse 12 itself but the footnote attached to it (NLT) that explains that some ancient authorities lack this verse - thank goodness our account doesn't. If the disciples had remained in the unbelief of verse 11 then why wouldn't we remain there also? But according to verse 12 the difference between unbelief and amazement is this; Peter 'got up' from his unbelief, and he 'ran to the tomb'. Perhaps when we experience doubt, or confusion, or unbelief, rather than remaining in that place, we need to 'get up and run [closer] to Jesus'. When he got there he stopped and looked 'in'. He looked past his unbelief and 'in' with faith to the possibilities of Jesus. Perhaps he was able to look 'in' only because he'd positioned himself where he knew Jesus to be rather than looking from the position of somebody elses' account - or from all that his mind could comprehend at that moment. Instead, 'he went home, amazed at what had happened' :-)

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

In the desert...

According to Mark 1:3 we know of John the Baptist as "a voice of one calling in the desert", and the messages he was speaking, "'Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.' "
So John is in the desert, speaking to those who are not.
But when you read Isaiah 40 it looks slightly different;
A voice of one calling: "In the desert prepare the way for the LORD ; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God."
So is John the 'voice calling in the desert'? or is John the voice calling... 'In the desert, in the wilderness... make straight a highway for their God?
Spiritually speaking we know that those who John was speaking to were in fact in a desert, and would remain there until they repented of their sin and accepted Christ as Lord.
Even as a Christian, Isaiah 40:3 provided fresh revelation for me. When you feel like you're in a dry season, when you're in the desert, when you're in the wilderness, 'make straight...a highway for the Lord'.