"Shout for Joy to the Lord" painting by Ain Vares

Today: Psalms 64; John 8:31-59; Judges 20 & 21

Psalms 61

“For You have been a refuge for me, a tower of strength against the enemy. Let me dwell in Your tent forever; Let me take refuge in the shelter of Your wings.” Psalms 61:3-4

God offers us so much… strength, refuge, safety, shelter. We live in a cursed world and life can be very difficult here. But we have the ear and heart of the Almighty God of the universe. He knows us intimately and cares about us. He has a plan for us and a purpose for our lives.

It seems to good to be true; many people do not believe it. But belief is the key that unlocks our access to God. God cannot be your help if you don’t believe in Him…

David had confidence that God heard him. He held that key of belief in his heart. He had the “inheritance of those who fear Your name.” (v.5) It’s kind of like a club… being a believer… enjoying a relationship with the God of the universe. But it’s not exclusive; membership is offered free to ALL who want to join!

But so many do not want it.

I’M in this club and I really love it here! I experience all these things David talked about. I feel God’s comfort, His protection, and strength. I feel great peace and joy.

Since it is a spiritual state, membership in this club, I can’t prove anything to anyone (and I really don’t care to try). I can only tell how I feel. But I know it is true.

Other believers get it. They feel it too. Do you? It is the most marvelous place!

John 8

Jesus really blasted those Pharisees in John 8. He continued speaking in spiritual terms. And they continued hearing in physical terms. Really, their miscommunication could be quite comical if the ramifications weren’t so profound. The same thing happens to us today… we completely miss Jesus because we are so stuck in the physical world.

The Pharisees thought Jesus was talking about actual physical slavery. But Jesus was referring to being a “slave to sin,” which is the state where we all find ourselves, born into these cursed physical human bodies. (v.34) Jesus does not free us from our physical bodies — only our physical death can do that. Freedom in Christ is SPIRITUAL freedom — and spiritual freedom is TRUE freedom because it lasts forever.

Jesus gave us a clear picture of salvation in John 8. He told us how to be FREE: “If you continue in MY word, then you are truly My disciples; and you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” (v.31-32)

John wanted to make sure there was no question about it… Jesus claimed to be the TRUTH. He boldly stated that following Him was the truth, the way to freedom.

Then Jesus said it again, “Truly, truly I say to you, if anyone follows My word, he will never see death.” (v.51) In Jesus Christ, our physical death is no longer something to fear. Our physical death, whenever it comes (as it will for everyone) is actually our doorway to new life in the presence of God forever, freedom from these cursed physical bodies. In Christ, death is actually something to look forward to!

And once again, for the third time in John 8, Jesus clearly claimed to be God, “Truly, truly I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.” (v.58) John left no doubt. Jesus claimed to be God!

Judges 20-21 – CIVIL WAR

IT was such a sad time for Israel. There were at war against each other for the first time. The tribe of Benjamin fought fiercely but were ultimately defeated. And Israel mourned the loss of their brother tribe. They were fighting against each other, killing their own women and children, then concocting a scheme of kidnap and rape for the Benjamite men to acquire wives. Thy were just a mess!

The author of Judges says, “In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” (v.21:25). Well, isn’t that the truth?!!