A Great Doxology
"O Lord our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth." (Psalm 8:9).
Here is a great doxology about God. In it is submission to God, character of God, and place for God.
Submission to God. "O-Lord, our Lord." The first "Lord" is a translated from a different Hebrew word than the second "Lord." The first "Lord" means Jehovah; the second "Lord" means master. The first "Lord" says who God is; the second "Lord" says who we are, namely, servants. The Psalmist thus submits to God by taking the servant position. You will never find out your place in life unless you learn God's place in your life. Furthermore, some will say "O-Lord" who will not say "our Lord." They acknowledge God, but will not submit to Him. You will not get far in life where it matters the most if you stop at the first "Lord." The devil acknowledges "O-Lord" but not "our Lord" (James 2:19).
Character of God. "Excellent is thy name." The name of a person in the Bible oftentimes represented the character of a person. We still use that meaning in a figure of speech when we say a person has a good "name" meaning he has a good character. So the Psalmist here is praising God's character. Jehovah's excellence makes Him far superior to the heathen gods. The character of Jehovah-God is unequaled. His holiness, mercy, love, power, and wisdom are in excellence beyond all human comprehension. Many degrade the character of God and of Christ today. We need to get back to the Scriptures to learn that God's character is "excellent."
Place for God. "In all the earth." Here is the application of God to our lives. God is applicable everywhere. Our age is not so sure. Many folk limit God's place to church but do not want Him in the government or the schools. Many folk limit God's place to Sunday but not to the other days of the week. Many folk wear their profession of faith in God when with other Christians but not when they are mingling among the world. But our text says God is applicable everywhere. We need God on all days of the week. We need Him at work and at play. We need Him in government as well as in church.
Condition of Society
"This is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the Lord." (Isaiah 30:9)
Isaiah is speaking about the condition of the Israelites during his day. Their condition is not unlike the condition of our society today. Their condition as stated in our verse was one of disobedience, deceit, disinterest, and defiance.
Disobedience. "This is a rebellious people." The rebellion here spoke of the disobedience of the people to the Word of God. Israel simply would not obey God's Word regarding their conduct. The same is true of our society today. They will not obey God's commands. Our society walks contrary to the way in which God has ordered us to live. And we even make laws to condone our disobedient action.
Deceitful. "Lying children." The Israelites were guilty of living deceitfully. You could not trust them. Our society certainly cannot throw stones. One of the most prominent characteristics of our society is deceit or lying. The news media deceives, the politicians deceive, the salesman deceives, and even a number of religious leaders deceive. Lying is extremely common today.
Disinterest. "That will not hear the law of the Lord." Israel was not interested in God's Word. Neither is our society today. People do not read the Bible much, and fewer and fewer people are attending church to hear the Word of God. People will spend hours before TV and hours on the internet, but they will not spend even minutes in the Bible because they are not interested in the Bible.
Defiance. "That will not hear the law of the Lord." This phrase not only shows the disinterest of people in the Word of God, but it also shows the defiance of the people towards the Word. Israel would not listen to the prophets speak God's Word. They rejected the truth and turned away from it. Many are like that today. You can show them the truth of the Scriptures and make it ever so plain, but they still will not listen to it but will go their own sinful way. They literally defy God. As the saying goes, "they have made up their minds and do not confuse them with facts."
The Way to Blessing
"The Lord is good unto those that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him." (Lamentations 3:25)
Those who want blessings from God are given instruction in our verse on how to obtain these blessings. There is a twofold requirement—waiting and seeking.
Waiting. "The Lord is good unto those that wait for him." Waiting is very hard to do but it is very rewarding when it is waiting "for him." Waiting includes some important attitudes which are needed for Divine blessings. We note three of them—submission, trust, and honor. First, waiting involves submission. When we wait for God, it means we are submitting to God. It is to sit when God says sit. Submission is the way to much blessing. Second, waiting involves trust. When we wait for someone at the airport or train station or bus station, it means we trust them. They have told us when they are going to arrive and our waiting says we believe them. Believing God is a way to blessing. Unbelief does not obtain Divine blessings but loses them. Third, waiting involves honor. The lesser waits for the greater. When we wait for God, we are saying that God is more important than we are. If you want blessing from God, you must honor God.
Seeking. "The Lord is good . . . to the soul that seeketh him." We note four things that are involved in seeking God. First, seeking God involves the Scriptures. We must seek His Word if we expect to have Divine blessings. Ignoring the Word of God will fleece you of many blessings. Second, seeking God involves supplication. We seek Him in prayer. Praying brings much blessing. If your prayer life is doing poorly, it will diminish blessing for your life. Third, seeking God involves the sanctuary. We seek God through worship. Failure to worship will cut off Divine blessings quickly. Those who prefer pleasure-seeking on week ends to worship at church are hurting themselves by cutting off their blessing. Fourth, seeking God involves the soul. "The soul that seeketh him." Seeking God with the soul means we are genuine in our seeking of God. Too much seeking is only form and not substance. That will not bring Divine blessing to anyone.
Daniel 11, 12
Invasion of Evil
"In his estate shall stand up a vile person, to whom they shall not give the honor of the kingdom; but he shall come in peaceably, and obtain the kingdom by flatteries." (Daniel 11:21)
This verse speaks about the past, about prophesy, and about a principle. The past concerns Antiochus Epiphanes, who around 175 b.c. became king of Syria by clever, deceitful means. Then he terribly persecuted the Jews. The prophesy is about the Antichrist who is yet to come on the world scene, who was prefigured by Antiochus Epiphanes. The Antichrist will cause great persecution of the Jews which the Bible calls the Great Tribulation. The principle in the verse has to do with how evil moves in to capture people. We want to focus upon the principle here. It involves the appearance, the acceptance, and the awards of evil.
Appearance of evil. "A vile person, to whom they shall not give the honor of the kingdom." When Antiochus first came on the scene, he was immediately rejected because he was so vile. He was not honored, and he was rightly despised. As long as he was viewed this way, the kingdom would not be defiled and ruined. So it is with evil. When we first see evil, it is ugly and repulsive. As long as we see evil as vile (evil and vile are spelled with the same letters), evil will not hurt us.
Acceptance of evil. "But he shall come in peaceably." That is he will want to be tolerated and accepted. The appeal is that we can get along. We can live peaceably together. That is always the appeal of evil. It does not come in and ask to rule; it simply asks to be tolerated—peaceful coexistence. This is the appeal of communism, evil politicians, homosexualism, abortion, gambling and other evil practices and people.
Awards of evil. "He shall . . . obtain the kingdom by flatteries." Evil wants to rule. Once evil is accepted, it can move to the next step. And it will do so quickly. It will with flatteries—deceitful promises of awards and honors—gain control over you. It will rule the "kingdom" of your life. And it will not be a pleasant rule. Evil only rules with cruelty. So do not be deceived by evil's awards. Heed what our text says about the practice of evil lest evil destroy you.
Matthew 21, 22
Whose Son Is He?
"What think ye of Christ? whose son is he? They say unto him, The Son of David." (Matthew 22:42)
During one of the times the Pharisees were gathered together to criticize Christ, He asked them this soul-stirring question about what they thought of Christ and specifically whose son they thought that Christ was. These are vital questions. If we do not answer these questions right, we are in danger of eternal hell fire. What we think of Christ determines our eternal destiny. The answer to the question "Whose son is he?" is threefold. Christ is the Son of David, the Son of man, and the Son of God.
Son of David. The Pharisees responded here by saying that Christ was the "Son of David." Their problem was that they did not believe the person standing in front of them was Christ. The term Son of David means the Christ is of the lineage of David and therefore the rightful heir to the throne. Jesus Christ will one day rule from the throne of David in the millennium. When the Jews stop rejecting Jesus Christ and accept Him, Israel will then be the greatest nation on the earth and Christ will be their Messiah and King.
Son of man. Christ asked His disciples earlier, "Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?" The Son of man is a term that speaks of the humanity of Christ. Christ had to be a man if He was going to die in our place for our sins. He could not be our substitute unless He was one of us. This makes Jesus the promised "seed" of Adam who would crush the serpent's (Satan's) head (Genesis 3:15) in the ultimate victory over evil.
Son of God. Jesus Christ is also the Son of God. When the angel announced to Mary the coming of Christ, the angel said the child would be called "the Son of God" (Luke 1:35). This means that Jesus is God. This declares the deity of Christ. His deity has been challenged in every age, but the Bible makes it clear that Jesus Christ is indeed the Son of God, the One who is God manifested in the flesh. And how that demonstrates God's great love for man, for God sent His own Son to die for our sins. There is no equal of greater love.
Facts About God
"God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands." (Acts 17:24)
This verse comes from Paul's sermon on Mars' Hill in Athens, Greece. It is a great verse about God. It speaks of the power of God, the authority of God, and the nature of God. The Athenians needed much help in these areas of understanding about God, but they are not alone. Our age has much trouble knowing the facts about God, too.
Power of God. "God . . . made the world and all things therein." The Athenians had many gods, but none so powerful as the true God. In speaking of the true God, Paul wisely begins as the Bible begins by stating that He is the Creator of the world and all things in it. This certainly demonstrates the power of God! But it is a truth that worldly wisdom does not accept well. In fact, in our day, worldly wisdom does not even want this truth mentioned in our schools. They much prefer evolution (which has no evidence whatever) taught in the schools. These blind educational leaders want others to be blind also in the most important knowledge of all.
Authority of God. "He is Lord of heaven and earth." It is logical that if God created the universe that He should have authority over it. This authority is what the evolutionists do not wish to accept. They want to be the authority of their own lives and not have to bow down to the commands of God. People of this kind are the primary ones who want to rule God out of society and out of the schools. Getting rid of God is getting rid of authority which they do not like. But wisdom will always find that when God is submitted to in life, it becomes a better life than any other life.
Nature of God. "God . . . dwelleth not in temples made with hands." The Athenians had lowered the nature of God to that of depraved man and even wild beasts. They made images and called them gods. But Paul argues that the true God is not of that nature. You cannot stick Him on a shelf or in your pocket or in some hand made shrine. "God is a Spirit" (John 4:24) and is not confined to human limits.
2 John, 3 John, Jude
Three Bad Paths
"Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Korah." (Jude 1:11)
This verse warns of three pathways which will lead to judgment from God. They are the piety of Cain, the priority of Balaam, and the pride of Korah. God has put a "Woe" over each of these ways which means we need to avoid these pathways at all costs.
Piety of Cain. "The way of Cain." Cain's problem began when he worshiped wrong (Genesis 4:3–5). He had no lamb, no shed blood; hence, he left out Jesus Christ. His wrong worship led to wrong deeds and he killed Abel. If you do not worship correctly, your conduct will be adversely affected. Worship determines our walk. Our worship reflects our relationship with God. If we have a poor relationship with God, it will lead to a poor relationship with man. If we treat God right, we will treat man right. Worship is very important. Make sure you worship correctly.
Priority of Balaam. "Ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward." Balaam's problem was greed. He was a prophet who had a price (Numbers 22). Balaam knew the truth, but he could be bought off with money though he claimed it would not affect him. Balaam's priority was money. He was more interested in cash than character. His life was characterized by greed not godliness. When we set our affections on the material more than the spiritual, we will get in big trouble with God. "Woe" if you have Balaam's priority.
Pride of Korah. "Perished in the gainsaying of Korah." "Gainsaying" means here to object and oppose. Korah's problem was his pride. He became jealous of Moses and Aaron and wanted their position and prestige. This caused him to rebel against Moses and Aaron and gather a group of other leading Israelites to try to take over some of the leadership of Moses and Aaron. It ended in death for Korah and his cohorts. Pride slays. Pride causes us to rebel against the will of God, the workers of God, and the way of God. That will lead you to the "pit" (Numbers 16:30) of judgment.
—Butler's Daily Bible Reading (3) Sermonettes