Tremble, Thou Earth, at Thy Creator’s Presence

Thursday, October 11, 2012

“Tremble, thou earth, at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the God of Jacob” (Psalm 114:7 KJV).

Psalm 114 provides a glimpse of God’s power over creation.

“When Israel went out of Egypt, the house of Jacob from a people of strange language; Judah was his sanctuary, and Israel his dominion. The sea saw it, and fled: Jordan was driven back. The mountains skipped like rams, and the little hills like lambs. What ailed thee, O thou sea, that thou fleddest? thou Jordan, that thou wast driven back? Ye mountains, that ye skipped like rams; and ye little hills, like lambs? Tremble, thou earth, at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the God of Jacob; which turned the rock into a standing water, the flint into a fountain of water” (Psalm 114).

The above psalm is a brief narrative of God delivering Israel from Egyptian bondage, and her subsequent journey to the Promised Land. Notice at least three instances where the LORD demonstrated His power over creation:

  • Verse 3a: “The sea saw it, and fled” refers to God miraculously parting the Red Sea so Israel could pass on dry ground (Exodus 14:21,22).
  • Verse 3b: “Jordan was driven back” portrays God miraculously damming the Jordan River when Israel’s priests stepped into it, allowing the nation (following the priests) to enter into the Promised Land, due north of the Dead Sea (Joshua 3:7-17).
  • Verse 8: “[God] Which turned the rock into a standing water, the flint into a fountain of waters” recalls God miraculously causing water to gush forth from the rock, quenching Israel’s thirst (Exodus 17:1-7; Numbers 20:1-13). Interestingly, Psalm 114 alone—not Exodus and Numbers—identifies that rock as flint.

As the psalmist inquired, what “ailed” (troubled) the Red Sea, and the Jordan River, to do what they did? It was their Creator, the Lord Jesus Christ! They obeyed His commands. The whole earth—especially the “mighty” mountains, hills, rivers, and seas—trembled in reverence of their mighty Creator.

And yet, for us, “He humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:8). WOW!

Recession-Resistant Riches

Sunday, September 9, 2012

“Riches profit not in the day of wrath: but righteousness delivereth from death” (Proverbs 11:4 KJV).

Remember, recession-resistant riches reside in our Redeemer, Christ Jesus.

Economic turmoil is plentiful: widespread unemployment, low-wage job growth, rising healthcare costs, government overspending and bailouts, and skyrocketing poverty. What a mess!!! Remember our Lord’s declaration? “For ye have the poor always with you…” (Matthew 26:11).

We in the Dispensation of Grace are instructed to work (2 Thessalonians 3:10-12) and save our money (2 Corinthians 12:14). However, Jesus Christ told His Jewish disciples, living in Israel’s kingdom program, to do the opposite: “Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell that ye have, and give alms [goods/money to the poor]; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Luke 12:32-34). These Jews were to seek first “treasures in the heavens,” not earthly possessions.

In Acts 2:44-47 and Acts 4:32-37, Jesus’ disciples obeyed His instructions by selflessly selling their possessions, giving the money to the apostles, who then established a common fund for all kingdom Jewish saints to use. Why? “Riches profit not in the day of wrath” (today’s Scripture). Had our dispensation not opened, they would have experienced the seven-year Tribulation, God’s wrath, when the world’s economy would ultimately collapse, making material riches worthless (Revelation chapter 18). (By the way, this is still future.)

Paul never instructs us to sell our possessions as Israel did, but we too should not be attached to our (temporary) material possessions. Our spiritual riches in Christ (especially righteousness, our right standing before God) are more important than physical possessions. They are everlasting and they “deliver [us] from [spiritual] death” (today’s Scripture). Likewise, believing Israel’s spiritual blessings (especially righteousness) are also everlasting, delivering them too from spiritual death (hell and the lake of fire, God’s ultimate wrath).

“For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich” (2 Corinthians 8:9).

The Great LORD God #2

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

“Wherefore thou art great, O LORD God: for there is none like thee, neither is there any God beside thee, according to all that we have heard with our ears” (2 Samuel 7:22 KJV).

As King David of old praised his LORD God, so do we!

The prophet Nathan has just relayed God’s Word to King David, the Davidic Covenant (verses 12-16), God’s promise to make one of David’s descendants an everlasting King of Israel. Today’s Scripture is a portion of a prayer that David offers to the LORD, thanking and praising Him for what He has done for him and Israel thus far, and what He will do for them in the future (verses 18-29).

David, once a lowly shepherd boy (1 Samuel 16:11), is now the mighty king of Israel. Moreover, his “house” (royal lineage) will transcend the eons of eternity: Jesus Christ, David’s descendant, will establish His earthly kingdom at His Second Coming, and He will reign over Israel forever (Luke 1:31-33).

Israel, once a group of about 75 people (Exodus 1:5), left Egypt being at least two million strong: when viewed from a distance, the Jews “covered the face of the earth [horizon]” (Numbers 22:5)! In David’s day, about 500 years after departing Egypt, they have multiplied even further.

Notice the verse following today’s Scripture: “And what one nation in the earth is like thy people, even like Israel, whom God went to redeem for a people to himself, and to make him a name, and to do for you great things and terrible, for thy land, before thy people, which thou redeemedst to thee from Egypt, from the nations and their gods?” (verse 23).

Moses told Israel: “For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth. The LORD did not set his upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people” (Deuteronomy 7:6,7).

Lowly David, weak Israel, made mighty by the great LORD God.

A Miracle of Astronomical Proportions

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Then spake Joshua to the LORD in the day when the LORD delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon; and thou, Moon, in the valley of Ajalon” (Joshua 10:12 KJV).

“For the Jews require a sign” (1 Corinthians 1:22a). Signs, miracles, and wonders are Israel’s national heritage. From their beginning (Abraham) until the early Acts period, Israel witnessed God’s miraculous demonstrations. In today’s Scripture, Israel literally saw “a miracle of astronomical proportions.”

When Israel under Joshua’s leadership came into the Promised Land, the Amorites (Gentiles) inhabited the area. In today’s Scripture, Joshua and Israel’s armies are engaged in warfare with the Amorites. Joshua, wanting to demonstrate God’s power to the Amorites, and to remind Israel of her God’s supremacy, commands the Sun and the Moon to stand still. What happens?

“And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is not this written in the book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day. And there was no day like that before it or after it, that the LORD hearkened unto the voice of a man: for the LORD fought for Israel” (Joshua 10:13,14).

The scientific and even religious communities deny these verses. How could the Sun and Moon remain motionless, without altering the delicate balance of the solar system (and universe)? We cannot comprehend such a concept of stationary celestial bodies, but we confess, “Ah Lord GOD! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee” (Jeremiah 32:17).

If God could speak the heaven and the earth into existence, from nothing, and establish natural laws to govern their movements, He could certainly manipulate those laws to produce extraordinary events. Joshua 10:13,14 does not need scientific confirmation. By faith, we understand it happened just as Scripture declares. We rejoice in the power of the great God whom we serve!

The Glory of Our Lord Jesus Christ #5

Thursday, March 22, 2012

“But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thessalonians 2:13,14 KJV).

God the Father’s original purpose for creating the heaven and the earth was to make His Son, Jesus Christ, the Head of their governments (Ephesians 1:9,10; Colossians 1:16-18). Both heaven and earth were to be filled with creatures that would bring Jesus Christ (the Creator) glory and honor. Unfortunately, sin interrupted that plan, and Jesus Christ has yet to become the rightful Ruler of the universe. In the ages to come, Jesus Christ will be glorified in both heaven and earth, and we will share that glory with Him!

We are born into this world useless to God. From birth, sin separates us from God. Thus, God used Paul’s Gospel—Christ’s finished crosswork at Calvary—so we could “obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ” (today’s Scripture). Now that we have trusted in that Gospel, we have restored fellowship with God, and we can be useful to God. In the ages to come, God will utilize us, the Church the Body of Christ, in the heavenly places to reflect Jesus Christ’s glory (Ephesians 2:6,7; cf. Ephesians 1:18) just as God will use redeemed Israel to reflect Jesus Christ’s glory on earth (Isaiah 60:1-3). Also see Colossians 1:16-20.

When we receive our glorified bodies at the rapture, we will be “glorified together [with Christ]” to forever reign for Christ’s glory in the heavenly places (Romans 8:16-25). Those new (enhanced) bodies will be made specifically for operating in heaven for all eternity (2 Corinthians 5:1-5). Throughout the ages to come, creation will see us reflecting the holiness and righteousness we have in Christ now (2 Corinthians 5:21). They will worship and praise the God whose righteousness and holiness our new bodies will reflect—not our glory, but “the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ!” What a glorious truth! 🙂

The Glory of Our Lord Jesus Christ #4

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

“But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thessalonians 2:13,14 KJV).

Saints, today’s Scripture tells us that through Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork at Calvary—Paul’s Gospel of 1 Corinthians 15:1-4—we can now obtain “the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.” In Christ, we have acquired the righteous status before God that Adam had prior to mankind’s fall into sin. God has redeemed our souls from sin and hell and He has given us a new identity in Christ. But, our vile physical bodies have not yet been redeemed from sin’s curse, so we cannot see the glory of that new identity. At the rapture, we will receive glorified physical bodies, and the glory we have in Christ will be manifested (Romans 8:18-25).

Our Lord Jesus Christ “dwells in the light which no man can approach unto” (1 Timothy 6:16). Christ is so holy that light emanates from His body (remember the Mount of Transfiguration?). When the ascended Lord Jesus appeared to Saul of Tarsus (the future Apostle Paul), Saul was blinded for three days because of “the glory of that light” (Acts 9:1-9; Acts 22:5-11; Acts 26:12,13). This is the glory of God that dwells in us; we just cannot see it right now.

Currently, we live in these limited physical bodies that cannot reflect the glory of Christ that we have inside (in the inner man). That will change at the rapture. “As we have borne the image of the earthy [these physical bodies linked to fallen Adam], we shall also bear the image of the heavenly [the glorified bodies that will reflect Christ’s glory; Philippians 3:20,21]” (1 Corinthians 15:49ff.).

After the rapture, we will have bodies that will be just as radiant as Jesus’ body on the Mount of Transfiguration. Then, we will be glorified together with Christ (Romans 8:16,17). Glorious truth!

The Glory of Our Lord Jesus Christ #3

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

“But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thessalonians 2:13,14 KJV).

In the beginning Adam and Eve were physically naked, but they were not ashamed (Genesis 2:25). Why? They had perfect fellowship with God, for God had made man “in his own image” (Genesis 1:27). Mankind reflected God’s glory, God’s holiness: man, like God, was sinless. Adam and Eve needed no clothes, for the light of God’s righteousness emanated from their bodies: God’s holiness was their covering. However, once Adam sinned, they “knew that they were naked” (Genesis 3:7). They quickly sewed (itchy!) fig leaf aprons for clothes! They no longer bore God’s image; sin caused them to lose that glorious light covering them.

During His earthly ministry, our Lord Jesus took the Apostles Peter, James, and John to a high mountain. Instantly, the Lord Jesus’ body shone brightly. “[H]is face did shine as the sun, and his raiment [clothing] was white as the light” (Matthew 17:2). His clothes were “exceeding white as snow [bleached white!]” (Mark 9:3; Luke 9:29). This is the famous “Mount of Transfiguration” account. Usually, Jesus’ physical body looked normal; but here, the glorious light (holiness) in which He dwelt in glory was briefly manifested for these three apostles. This was the light that once covered Adam and Eve before they sinned!

Look at those who have trusted the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation. Physically, they look like everyone else. The light of the righteousness of God that Christians have inside (in the soul) is not visible today; just like Jesus Christ looked normal physically (the difference was spiritual!!). At the rapture, our resurrected (glorified) physical bodies will display the glory that now resides in us Christians. Our new bodies will shine brilliantly, reflecting the inward glory (of our Lord Jesus Christ) that we have right now (today’s Scripture). Glorious truth!