Posted by Shofar/Liz
How can we know God’s heart?
This next chapter continues where we left off in Chapter 3, which focused on the power of God’s Word and how we can ‘grow’ our faith by studying and meditating upon Bible scriptures. Do go back and review previous chapters.
When we know what God says, we can overcome discouragement, feelings of insecurity, fears and anxieties with His reminders to “Be brave, don’t be afraid, don’t be confused: for I, the Lord, am with you all the time, wherever you are” (Joshua 1:9). Although this is my own paraphrasing as to how God would speak to my heart, the meaning of this verse is the same in any Bible version. This past Sunday, the visiting preacher told us that God said “Fear not” 366 times in the Bible, which is like God saying that to us EVERY DAY, including leap year, knowing that we need to be reminded daily. God loves us so much and is our GREATEST ENCOURAGER, so we really should spend more time letting Him speak to us from the Bible, imparting His Truth, Wisdom and Knowledge to us that we can apply to our lives.
DAVID, A MAN AFTER GOD’S HEART
PSALM 119- The Psalm of the Word of God
In studying Psalm 119 we can find out why God said that David was “a man after mine own heart” (Acts 13:22), and “whose heart was perfect before Him” (1Kings 11:4). This Psalm shows a relationship with God that is filled with praises and prayers centering around a deep love for God’s Word, and a great need for wisdom and understanding it better in order to walk in God’s ways, and not sin. David mentions several times that HE DID NOT WANT TO BE ASHAMED so he prayed for a deeper knowledge of God’s laws and a good testimony, and to not fall short of God’s expectations for him.
2Tim 2:15 states, “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth NOT TO BE ASHAMED, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
In Psalm 119:97 David says, “O how I love thy law! it is MY MEDITATION ALL THE DAY!”
In vs 127: “I love thy commandments above gold; yea, above fine gold,” and vs 128…”I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right; and I hate every false way.” David loved God’s Word with his whole being!
In Psalm 1:1-3 the ‘Blessed’ person delights and MEDITATES in the law of the Lord and MEDITATES DAY AND NIGHT and whatever he does shall prosper (paraphrased). This is what God told Joshua to do that would help him overcome his enemies-
“thou shalt MEDITATE DAY AND NIGHT, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success” (Joshua 1:8).
We need to likewise study God’s Word so that things to go well for us! We must LOVE GOD, LOVE HIS WORD AND OBEY IT! And so shall we be ‘BLESSED’!
How David Described God’s Word
In Psalm 19:7-11 David the Psalmist provides us with an excellent description of God’s Word:
“The law of the Lord is PERFECT, restoring the (whole) person; the testimony of the Lord is SURE, making WISE the simple. The precepts of the Lord are RIGHT, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is PURE and BRIGHT, enlightening the eyes. The (reverent) fear of the Lord is CLEAN, enduring forever; the ordinances of the Lord are TRUE and RIGHTEOUS ALTOGETHER. More to be DESIRED are they than gold, even than much fine gold; they are SWEETER also than honey and drippings from the honeycomb. Moreover, by them is your servant warned (reminded, illuminated, instructed); and in keeping them there is GREAT REWARD.” (AMP)
God’s law RESTORES, causes us to REJOICE, while REMINDING US of what God has for us if we are faithful to the end- GREAT REWARD!
David, A Man After God’s Heart
So why did God say that David was “a man after mine own heart” (Acts 13:22), and “whose heart was perfect before Him” (1Kings 11:4)? If we read about the things David did, we know he wasn’t a perfect man; he was an adulterer and murderer among other things. However, David had strong repentance of his sins, as he cried out to God for forgiveness (Psalm 51:10-14). This also illustrates how God is also very forgiving toward us, when we too, have a broken spirit and contrite heart. The Bible declares, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
He truly believed and sought God with his whole heart because he believed that God’s laws were TRUTH, that God revealed Himself and was present in HIS WORD. Psalm 119:42 states “Thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and thy law is THE TRUTH”; vs 151 …’”all thy commandments are TRUTH”; vs 160 “Thy word is TRUE from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever”; vs 89 “Forever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.”
Praise God Daily
David said, “I will BLESS the LORD at all times: his PRAISE shall continually be in my mouth’… O magnify the LORD with me, and let us EXALT his name together” (Psalm 34:1, 3-4). He never ceased to praise God despite adverse situations in his life when his enemies rose up against him and times he experienced rejection, disappointments, persecution, and extreme oppression on every front. In Psalm 86:10-13 he stated,
“For thou art great, and doest wondrous things: thou art God alone. Teach me thy way, O LORD; I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to fear thy name. I WILL PRAISE THEE, O Lord my God, with all my heart: and I will GLORIFY thy name for evermore. For great is thy mercy toward me: and thou hast delivered my soul from the lowest hell.”
The whole chapter of Psalm 107 is a testimonial of God’s goodness and loving kindness, the reason we should PRAISE Him:
“Oh that men would PRAISE the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! Let them EXALT him also in the congregation of the people, and PRAISE Him with testimonies of His goodness” (vs 31,32 paraphrased).
When we worship the Lord in our praises, we enjoy fellowship with Him and He makes His very presence known to us and gives us wisdom, understanding and revelation of Himself.
To have a relationship with God is to spend time with Him, whether in prayer, praise, and in the Word. It is the same in the natural; we cannot have a relationship with someone without spending time with that person! How much more important it is in our relationship with God- to experience His presence daily in praise and thanksgiving. This is the first commandment, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind” (Matthew 22:37); David, who loved God with his whole heart, whom God spoke of was “a man after mine own heart” (Acts 13:22), whose heart was “perfect” before Him (1Kings 11:4) said,
“I will sing unto the LORD as long as I live: I will sing praise to my God while I have my being. My meditation of Him shall be sweet: I will be glad in the LORD.” (Psalm 104:33,34).
David Praised God for Deliverance from His Enemies
David knew his God and praised Him with a song of thanksgiving: “for the LORD had delivered him out of the hand of all his enemies, and out of the hand of Saul” (2 Samuel 22:1). He said, “I will call on the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies” (2 Sam 22:4).
As a shepherd boy David killed a bear and a lion and knew that he could take on the giant Goliath because God was with him. We read in 1Sam 17:36,
“Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear: and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he hath defied the armies of the living God.”
David had his confidence in God and armed himself with a sling and 5 stones, but it only took 1 stone to bring Goliath down! What were the other four stones for? Some say that the number 5 stands for God’s GRACE. The GRACE of God was with David. It seems that David was prepared to face off more than one Philistine! Hardly is it mentioned that Goliath had four sons, not counting his brother, who were as fierce and daunting as he was! David and his servants killed them in other battles with the Philistines (2 Samuel 21:15-22; 1 Chronicles 20:6-8). God is All Powerful and All Mighty; He is for us-who can be against us, no one, nothing or no thing! We can be as brave as David who knew his God and trusted Him and let God help us face the giants in our lives. Praise the Lord!
How David Prayed
In Psalm 119 we have a glimpse of David’s personal relationship with God and what the Word of God meant to him. We can also learn a lot about prayer by the kind of prayers he prayed. The first three verses are a reminder that,
“BLESSED(happy) are the undefiled in the way, who WALK in the law of the LORD. Blessed are they that KEEP his testimonies, and that SEEK him with the whole heart. They also DO NO INIQUITY: they WALK IN HIS WAYS”.
Then the rest of this Psalm describes David’s prayers that his deep love for God’s Word will continue to sustain him through every circumstance and adversity he faced in his life. Verses 9-11 say,
“How shall a person cleanse his way? by obeying God’s Word and seeking Him with his whole heart: O LET ME NOT WANDER from thy commandments, but hide your Word in my heart, that I MIGHT NOT SIN against thee” (paraphrased).
Let us seek God and pray that we will follow His ways- by hiding His Word in our hearts so that we will not wander from Him and sin against Him.
Tags: David-Man After God's Heart, Deliverance from Enemies, Description of God's Word, Fear Not, Grace of God, How to Pray, Joshua 1:9, Love for God's Word, Meditation, Perfect Heart, Praise and Worship, Psalm 119, relationship with God, Truth and Righteousness
Posted by Shofar/Liz
Welcome back to ‘Sounding the Shofar- Exhortations for the End Times’ eBook. See Category on side bar, ‘From Journal and Shofar eBook’ for Introduction and Chapter 1.
We all want things to go well with us and the Bible holds the keys for this to be possible.
CHAPTER 2 PLEASING GOD
Love God, Love His Word and Obey It
Read Deuteronomy 6:13-19. The key verse is Deut 6:18:
“…do that which is right and good in the sight of the Lord: that it may be well with thee, and that thou mayest go in and possess the good land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers; vs. 19 … To cast out all enemies from before thee, as the LORD hath spoken.”
We must please God so that things will go well for us (vs 18). The last verse of the previous chapter (vs 5:33) tells us WHY we must obey God:
- that we may LIVE,
- that things will go WELL in our life,
- so that we will have a LONG life!
How many people have had their lives cut short prematurely by their choices, by the way they treat others, and by the way they live their lives.
Deuteronomy 6:2-5 tells us how we can be blessed with long life and “that it may be well with thee”. It is not by only hearing, but also by doing what God has commanded. This is only possible when we “love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might”. This is also “the first and great commandment” in Matthew 22:37.
God said that David, king of Israel, was “a man after mine own heart” (Acts 13:22), whose heart was ‘perfect’ before Him (1Kings 11:4). In Psalms 119, the longest chapter of the longest book in the Bible, we can read about David’s intimate relationship with God, and the importance of God’s Word in his life. Of 176 verses, all except for 3 are about the Word of God, grouped by each of the Hebrew alphabet and mentioned by these names: Law, Commandments, Testimony, Precepts, Statutes, Ordinances, Judgments, Ways, Word, and Truth.
Psalm 119 is called the Psalm of the Word of God.
Here are some verses about God’s Word:
- “Forever, O Lord, thy word is settled in heaven” (verse 89);
- “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (verse 105);
- “Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them” (verse 165).
Meditate on these scriptures today and keep them in your heart.
WWJD and Doing Our Best
Paul in Colossians 3:17,23 instructs us how to please God and receive His blessings of Deut 6:18 and 5:33 (to have a good and long life):
“Whatsoever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus… And whatsoever you do, do it heartily, as unto the Lord, and not unto men…”
WWJD, What Would Jesus Do? He did everything the Father told him to do. Jesus said in John 5:19,
“…The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.”
And we know that everything God does, He does well.
When I taught school, the only reports I accepted from my students were their BEST work. I asked them, “Is this your best? Can you do better? What can you do to improve this?” I also expected their best handwriting and many a child got spelling words marked wrong for illegibility. A major mindset in the work force today is to expect maximum pay and benefits for minimum output. Look at what is going on with state and union labor negotiations. Take a good look at every strata of institutions in our society today. Only when there are attitudes of pride in work excellence and productivity, you will likely find successful individuals and companies. Only God can motivate us as individuals to do our BEST in EVERYTHING we do. Not only that, but He will help us and reward us when we strive TO DO OUR BEST in everything we put our minds and hands to do. Christians should be the ones who are recognized as outstanding in everything they do!
Pleasing God and Good Success
“…whatsoever you do, do it heartily, as unto the Lord, and not unto men…” (Colossians 3:23)
If pleasing God is uppermost in our lives He will bless us and enable us to be successful. He will be with us and not fail us, nor forsake us. He is the road map to our destination; He is the rudder on our ship through troubled waters; He will lead us by His eye. God does this through His Word, and the more we understand His Word, the greater will be our success! We can have GOOD SUCCESS! God told Joshua,
“trust me, don’t be afraid; do what I tell you, don’t go your own way by turning to the right or to the left.” Joshua 1:7 (paraphrased)
Verse 8 says,
“This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt MEDITATE therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to DO according to all that is written therein: for THEN thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and THEN thou shalt have GOOD SUCCESS.” (Caps are mine)
Everything we do, we do to PLEASE GOD (Colossians 3:17, 23) which is through FAITH in Him and believing His Word. We get our faith by meditating on His Word (Joshua 1:8).
As Hebrews ll:6 says,
“...without faith it is impossible to please God, for he that comes to God must BELIEVE that He is (God) a Rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”
As professed believers in Jesus, Paul tells us,
“Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16)
This means that we must know that God is our Father and we are His children, that
“God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him (Jesus) should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)
There you have it, when we are in a relationship with God and we know He is our Father, we can approach Him any time! His phone number is Jeremiah 33:3,
“Call unto me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.”
Matthew 19:36 states,
...”With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.”
And another faith builder is Isaiah 59:1,
“Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear”...
Question is, have you made Jesus your Lord and Savior? If so, then God is your Father and Jesus is your Savior and your Brother!
(To be continued- Prosperity and Success, Being Blessed)
Here is a link to a very nice blog by two sisters who share their faith in God. Read “Would you really like to know how to get to heaven?”