Psalm 85:8,9. NKJV. “I will hear what God the Lord will speak, For He will speak peace To His people and to His saints; But let them not turn back to folly. Surely His salvation is near to those who fear Him, That glory may dwell in our land.”
A Lot of people want to make America great again. This cannot be done by politics or social movements. If America is to be “great” again (if she ever was, in terms of what “great” actually means in terms of what Jesus taught), she must be filled with the glory of God. In that light alone America may be great “again”. And if she is ever to be great and glorious, then she must become godly, living in full surrender to the redemption and salvation won for her in Jesus Christ. This is true for any nation!
For not all paths lead to God, or are in God, contrary to the popular thought of the times. I realize that is a very unpopular claim in an “I’m OK, you’re OK” kind of world which despises Jesus Christ. Or even among churchy people who lean toward an implied universalist mindset.
Lost in the woods and off the path, morally and ethically and without godly wisdom and understanding to guide us, we need a compass to come back to the path – the Way of the Cross.
There is no other Way. Only one. That is through the One Redeemer and Lord Jesus Christ, to Whom is given all authority in heaven and on earth, Who by His cross and resurrection has purchased and won us from sin and eternal death, Satan, and self. The One Who is the Way, Truth, and Life. This is the premise of any “glory” to which we would lay claim. This is His authority.
And oh, how sophisticated 21st Century man hates the idea of divine authority!
In this Psalm of the sons of Korah, we find a prayer that the Lord will restore favor to the land. While it is true that God is love and mercy, desiring to bestow favor to the land, we cannot see this on our own terms and definitions – which, more than likely, is some sort of emotional fascination with unmitigated tolerance and softness toward what we want or think will make us feel good. Much of this comes from decades of conditioning by the ideas that come out of the entertainment industry, with idolizes hedonism, sin, and rebellion toward God.
Rather, the love and mercy of God make it imperative for Him to communicate to us how things actually work. God’s love has a “tough love” component. After all, He is bringing many sons to glory! (Hebrews 2:10) What we are now is not what we are to be! As the best Parent, He speaks to us – outwardly – by way of His word, the Bible, and by way – inwardly – through a conscience informed by His truth. He pours out His Spirit, Who writes His truth on our hearts.
Are we listening? Can we say with the psalmist, “I will hear what God the LORD will speak”?
He is calling us back onto the path of repentance, of turning toward Him – hearing, heeding, and following the Lord Jesus on His path of holiness and righteousness. This is the Way of the Cross, described in an old fashioned word seldom heard in the church anymore: it is a way of “mortification.” Death to the world, the devil, and the flesh. Here is where He provides blessing, good, and protection for those who follow Him.
Yes, there are the “influences” – corporeal and incorporeal – calling us off the path and back into the woods, where they would rob us of our Lord’s blessing and goodness. So if we follow those voices which would lure us into selfish, sinful lifestyles, we are lured into that which has as its goal the destruction of both soul and body. Eternally.
This brings to mind an old hymn which makes a good prayer for help in hearing what the Lord will speak to help stay on the path of everlasting life. There are 4 verses, but I will offer only the first one and then the third later:
“Let us ever walk with Jesus,
Follow His example pure;
Flee the world which would deceive us
And to sin our souls allure.
Ever in His footsteps treading,
Body here yet soul above,
Full of faith and hope and love,
Let us do our Father’s bidding;
Faithful Lord, abide with me;
Savior, lead, I follow Thee.”
(Tune: Sigismund von Birken 1652. Lyrics: Georg G. Boltze 1788. Translation: J. Adam Rimbach 1900.)
The basis of this old hymn is one of those mostly overlooked little verses, John 11:16. “Then Thomas, who is called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, ‘Let us also go, that we may die with Him.’” They are on the way to the grave of Lazarus, who has just passed away, but he is not referring to dying with Lazarus.
What a treasure is in this little verse, but in a sense it addresses the Gospel in our co-death with Jesus. (Read Ephesians 2:4-10) So, we go on to verse 3 of the hymn:
“Let us also die with Jesus,
His death from the second death
From our soul’s destruction frees us,
Quickens us with life’s glad breath.
Let us mortify while living,
Flesh and blood and die to sin,
And the grave that shuts us in
Shall but prove the gate to heaven.
Jesus, here I die to Thee,
There to live eternally.”
Why this Thomas was called the Twin has many interpretations. So I’d like to offer my take on it. Spiritually he “twins” with Jesus. He chooses to be inseparable from Him, to be as He is. Where Jesus goes, he goes, and he encourages the others likewise to follow.
The Cross is always the narrow way that leads to life. It is the only way, in fact, of eternal life. It is foolishness to those who are perishing, as they seek to find eternal life by other spiritual paths, or they seek to preserve and improve this temporal existence. But to all who are being saved, the Cross is the power of God. 1 Corinthians 1:18.
Are you going with Him?
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