January 30th 2022: Ian Middlemist

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Psalm 25: Petitions and Provisions

This is an acrostic psalm, although you wouldn’t notice it. The Hebrew alphabet is used (not all letters) to start each stanza.

The Christian lives in that tension of petition and provision. We yearn for that which has not yet been fully given, yet we rejoice in the complete and satisfactory revelation of the love of God that has been given to us, deep in our hearts. We are absolutely satisfied with the sufficiency of God’s grace towards us. He has given to us that which will eternally satisfy, and we are glad.

Petitions.

Petition is prayer making, a plea to God for specific needs. There are different aspects to the Christian prayer life. There are thanksgiving, there are petitions, there are mediatory roles that we play. Christians are aware that they need the Lord. When there is a specific need they turn to the Lord. Efforts are made in our lives to answer our needs; we may turn to Google to answer life’s complexities. The Christian ultimately realises the Lord Jehovah is the answer. He is the author of all wisdom and strength. He provides, so we petition Him.

If you see an injustice take place you have the right to petition Parliament. You have the right to get people to get people to sign your petition of concern, then it can go to Parliament. You then have hope it is listened to and responded to.

Isn’t it wonderful we can make our petitions to the Lor. We can make them directly to Him, one to one. He will answer according to His own will. We come to a God, not to an unfeeling system. We come not needing the ability of grandeur, of teamwork. When our words fall out of our mouths and lack fluidity in prayer, He accepts us in the Lord Jesus Christ. We can come confidently to Him. We come to a God whose faithfulness is great, whose compassions fail not. Bring your petitions to the Lord.

A Petition for Deliverance.

There is a need for deliverance.  David is in anxiety of soul. He comes with this petition for deliverance, out of a position of confidence, To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul,” (verse 1). He is surrounded by an assurance that the Lord is ready to receive him. The Lord is calling you to come to Him now. This God is ready to receive. He is the God who is trustworthy, “O my God, in you I trust” (verse 2a). David has the assurance that the Lord is worthy of the trust of his soul. The Lord is preserving David’s dignity, “Let me not be put to shame; let not my enemies exult over me” (verse 2b). Our God is not about the business of shaming His beloved children. He cares. David’s petition is that he doesn’t want to be put to shame. There is petition and provision.

A Petition for Instruction.

David has a petition for instruction, for wisdom, “Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths.” (verse 4). We also see this in verses 8, 9 and 12. David speaks of ‘the way.’ What is this way? David is not speaking primarily about the obedience to God’s commands. He is in need of being led to know God’s faithfulness, “All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep his covenant and his testimonies,” (verse 10).

Christians are to ask to follow and appreciate His faithfulness as we walk through this life, which often lead us through barren lands. At this time, we can look ahead and feel totally overwhelmed. But when we look back, we can see disappointments led to deliverances and that closed door prevented them from absolute disaster. We know that this path will lead to ultimate faithfulness, to glory.

The third petition – forgiveness:

“Remember not the sins of my youth or my transgressions;
    according to your steadfast love remember me,
    for the sake of your goodness, O Lord!
(verse 7)

“For your name’s sake, O Lord,
    pardon my guilt, for it is great.”
(verse 11)

This encourages people to pray for forgiveness of sins. What is the basis for this petition? As far as David is concerned, there are two bases for this. Let’s start with the second because this shows us how David sees himself. The first one is how David sees the Lord. David’s basis for asking the Lord for forgiveness is, as he sees himself, is that his guilt is very great. He has sinned against God. The burden of the guilt is incredible, so he asks for forgiveness, without making excuses. He confesses his sins. That’s all we can do, be honest about it.

The first basis that David brings, the reason for pleading for forgiveness is this – it’s the Lord’s character, “O Lord, you are a God of steadfast love.” This is how the Lord has revealed Himself to be. That is why we need to give ourselves to the knowledge of God, come to know who He is as He has revealed Himself to be. We must give ourselves to know God. As we do this, we will have revealed to us His steadfastness, His love to save us. We need to start listening, searching every little bit of what He has said about Himself in the Bible. Then we can come to Him in greater confidence. Then we can gain an assurance that He reveals by His grace and His faithfulness toward us. Let’s petition the Lord for deliverance, instruction and forgiveness.

Provisions.

Let’s see the provisions that He has granted to us. He grants us assurance He is always giving and pouring out His assurance toward us.

“His soul shall abide in well-being,
    and his offspring shall inherit the land.”
(verse 13)

“My eyes are ever toward the Lord,
    for he will pluck my feet out of the net.”
(verse 15)

He will – it is future. We don’t know what is going to happen this week, in the months ahead. We are hoping for a better future. There’s all sorts of ways we try to assure us of a better future. David knew the Lord would not abandon His people. God has destined for His own beloved Son to come out of this people. Under the reign of the Lord Jesus Christ believers are assured that they shall inherit the Earth. Our God has designed that His children should not only make it through life but inherit the Earth. That’s the assurance of those who are under the reign of the Lord Jesus Christ.

 With that end in mind, the Lord sent His Beloved Son to die for our sin. We know how to rescue and to show compassion to little ones. We know how to give our children good gifts. We want to protect them. How much more does our heavenly Father feed, guide and love His children? We see in verse 15 that David is assured in the troubles of life it is not he who needs to protect his own way, pick himself up. No. It’s the Lord who is going to pick him up. He gives him that assurance. What an assurance we receive.

Leading.

David has pleaded and petitioned for instruction and he has received the provision of the Lord’s leading.

“He leads the humble in what is right,
    and teaches the humble his way.”
(verse 9)

“Who is the man who fears the Lord?
    Him will he instruct in the way that he should choose.”
(verse 12)

The righteous receive the Lord’s leading in His ways and also the instruction of God’s goodness.

He will lead on the basis of His forgiveness. He has led us. He has provided direction. Christians often struggle to know the will of the Lord. This leads to fear, to stunted growth and progress in the Christian life, fear of making mistakes. God has clearly set out the parameters of righteousness for us in making decision in the Word. From there we must trust the Lord and prayerfully use the intellect we have already been given to make those decisions. We follow His paths, going in the way He has already revealed. As we learn of His faithfulness increasingly, He leads us safely on. He makes His sovereign goodness known. He instructs, He guides and teaches those who are humble, those who are sinners who have already submitted themselves to His covenantal Lordship in their lives (Psalm 32:8).

Third provision in response to forgiveness – He gives us so much more than we bargained for.


“The friendship of the Lord is for those who fear him,
    and he makes known to them his covenant.”

(verse 14)

He gives to us His friendship! Not only does He forgive, He gives us His friendship, His companionship (v.13). Absolutely staggering! Remember, the Lord has already rescued you and given you His friendship, His companionship. The Lord has deemed it fit to let you into His secret (verse 14). The Lord is to confide in those who fear Him. Those who revere His holy Name will walk carefully before Him, humbling themselves, will know the Lord sharing His very heart with them, as His chosen special friends. They will share His deepest desires of love towards sinners, His plan of redemption, this great, matchless, extravagant love. He also reveals those plans for those who hate Him. In the Lord Jesus Christ you are His special friend

In conclusion, when you walk with the Lord and make your petitions to Him, you will get so much more than you bargained for – heavenly peace, divinest comfort.

January 14th 2018: Gareth Edwards

Gareth Edwards-Jan18

Exodus 12:14-28: ‘Remember, Remember.’

It’s because we are so forgetful that God reminds us: Nehemiah 4:14, 2 Timothy 2:8, Ecclesiastes 12:1, Isaiah 46;9 are all calls to remember. One of the things God wanted Israel to remember was the exodus from Egypt, how God delivered them from captivity in Egypt. Even before it actually happened, God commanded the Israelites to annually observe the feast. Later, entire Psalms would be written to remind them of their bondage e.g. Psalms 78 and 106.

Most of all, the remembrance was to be a twin feast: Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Three times in this passage God tells Moses this was to be an annual feast. They were never to forget the salvation God had given them. Jesus gave us a remembrance feast when he celebrated the Passover feast. Every time we celebrate the Lord’s Supper we do so in response to the Lord’s command, “Do this in remembrance of me.” (1 Corinthians 11:24). The Israelites sacrificed with the death of a lamb. Jesus inaugurated a new feast in remembrance of His death – as the Lamb of God. Sinners are saved by the broken body and shed blood of Christ. We must never forget the salvation God has given us.

What were the Israelites to remember? Salvation from sin. God had delivered them from the land of Egypt out of bondage where they had been slaves for 400 years. As they celebrated the Passover Feast they were to eat bitter herbs – a reminder of the bitter experience in Egypt. The unleavened bread was used to show they were leaving in a hurry, to remind them they fled from Egypt. Most importantly was the slaughter of the lamb, the blood sprinkled on door posts and lintels (Exodus 12:22). The final plague of 10 causes Pharaoh, at long last, to release the Israelites. When they celebrated Passover they commemorated their deliverance. The lamb was a sacrifice – deliverance from sin.

Passover was not just deliverance but also propitiation – God’s just anger turned away because of the penalty of that sin, death, had been paid by another. Passover was a double blessing: deliverance and propitiation. We are reminded that we are all sinners and all face the wrath of God. The destroyer who came to Egypt that night lays claim to us – there is no one righteousness, no, not one. All are under the sentence of death. We are in bondage to sin and we face the wrath of God because of that sin. But a sacrifice has been made through the shedding of the precious blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. We are delivered from bondage to sin and saved from the condemnation it brings. We are saved from the power and guilt of sin. As we partake of the bread and wine we remember that God, in His love and mercy, sent His only begotten Son to break sin’s bondage, to turn away the holy, just wrath of God against us, that we may know forgiveness and blessings of eternal life.

We are saved for sanctification in order to be holy. Passover was followed by the Feast of Unleavened Bread which lasts for a full week. There were strict instructions. The Israelites were not to eat anything with yeast. Yeast was a symbol of the corrupting power of sin (1 Corinthians 5:6-8). When the Israelites ate the unleavened bread they were reminded of the need to keep themselves pure, clean. God wanted more than to just get His people out of Egypt, He wanted Egypt out of them. He was saving them to holiness. During the Feast of Unleavened Bread every trace of leavened dough was to be removed. People would sweep their houses to make sure there was no leavened dough at all in the house. In spiritual terms the Israelites were not to bring with them any corrupting influences of Egypt.

What are we to remember as we come to the bread and wine? We are sinners saved by grace. We have been saved for a purpose. We are not meant to carry on sinning. Romans 6. God’s purpose in bringing salvation is to save. The power of sin has been broken. You have been freed from the power and penalty of sin. God wants us to remember we are sanctified. He calls us to be holy. Even a small sin is dangerous. Like yeast, it wants to spread. God has a zero tolerance when it comes to sin. God delivered us from bondage to rid ourselves of sin, not to indulge it.

We are saved to obedient working. Israel bowed its head in humble adoration (Exodus 12:27). They worshipped God and praised Him for the deliverance they were about to experience (Exodus 12:28). The theme of the whole book of Exodus is obedient worship. God saved His people for His glory so they would obediently serve Him. This worship and obedience proceeded their deliverance – it’s before the deliverance takes place. Prior to the exodus they give obedient worship as they trust in God.

We trust and obey God, the God of covenant faith who keeps His promises. The experience of the fullness of our salvation we will only now in heaven. Bring saved to be sanctified, we should do whatever God tells us to do with willing hearts. Submit to the lordship of the Saviour.

The Christian life consists of many things but essentially two things: getting down on our knees to worship God and getting up on our feet to worship Him.

Remember, remember. As we partake of the bread and wine we remember we are sinners, but praise God, a Lamb has been sacrificed and the blood shed at Calvary. We are delivered from the power of sin and saved from the wrath of God against sin. We are blessed beyond all imagination. We are saved to live lives to the glory of God, turning away from sin. We do that because our lives are now taken up with the obedient worship of God. Give Him all the glory, all the honour and all the praise!