Today: Psalms 51:1-9; Luke 22:63-71; Luke 23:1-25; Joshua 8; Joshua 9:1-15

Psalms 51

Psalm 51 is one of the most profound Psalm in the entire book. It was written by King David after he had sinned with Bathsheba and then had her husband killed. David, the king with a palace full of wives and concubines, wanted something that wasn’t his. He let himself be swept away by lust and then committed murder to cover up his sin. It doesn’t get any worse than that.

Yet God forgave David!

How in the world could God forgive such egregious sin?!

The answer lies in Psalm 51.

When the prophet, Nathan, confronted David, he immediately humbled himself and begged God for forgiveness. David didn’t try to justify or excuse his actions. He responded with humility and remorse.

This is why God forgave.

God does not require sinlessness. He only requires humble hearts.

“Be gracious to me, God, according to Your faithfulness; according to the greatness of Your compassion, wipe out my wrongdoings, wash me thoroughly from my guilt and cleanse me from my sin.” (v.1-2)

He only requires that we confess our sins…

“I know my wrongdoings, and my sin is constantly before me. Against You, You only, I have sinned and done what is evil in Your sight.” (v.4)

…and that we recognize our own desperate need for a Savior.

“Behold, I was brought forth in guilt, and in sin my mother conceived me.” (v.5)

"Pontius Pilate" Painting by Nadezhda Vorontsova

Luke 22

Don’t ever let anyone tell you that Jesus was just a good teacher and that He did not claim to be the Son of God. He most certainly DID claim to be divinity. After He had been arrested, the chief priests and scribes asked Him if He was the Son of God, “and He said to them, ‘You say correctly that I am.'” (v.70) The phrasing of His answer implies not only that He is God’s Son, but that He is “I AM” Himself.

The assembly of priests had devised the specific argument against Jesus that they thought would convince Pilate to have Him executed. “We found this man misleading our nation and forbidding us to pay taxes to Caesar.” (v.2) That’s right, hit him in the pocketbook!

Jesus had actually said the exact opposite. But those scheming priests never let the truth stop them. However their lie didn’t seem to be working. Pilate wasn’t taking the bait… He didn’t find Jesus guilty of anything deserving death. So he kicked the ball into King Herod’s court, but then Herod also refused to incriminate Jesus. They both found Jesus NOT GUILTY.

The priests got louder… they incited the crowd to join in and “they cried out all together, saying, ‘Away with this man, and release to us Barabbas!'” (v.18)

Pilate argued with them, “but they kept on crying out, saying, ‘Crucify, crucify Him!'” (v.21) Cancel culture…

And again Pilate balked and tried to release Jesus.

“But they were insistent, with loud voices, demanding that He be crucified. And THEIR VOICES BEGAN TO PREVAIL. And so Pilate decided to have their demand carried out…” (v.23-24)

The actual murderer and terrorist was spared and Jesus was crucified instead.

Does any of this sound familiar?

Satan is STILL trying to crucify Jesus… in the courtyard of our current culture, in cyberspace, the news, from the pulpits of many of our churches, from our teachers and politicians. Still he is insistent, with loud voices, demanding that we abolish Christ from our midst. He will tell any old lie about Jesus that he thinks will work… He’s a fairytale, anti-science, misogynist, racist, just a good teacher… any old lie. And he will never ever shut up or give up. And we are watching as his voice is beginning to prevail.

It is time for Christians to stand boldly against the enemy’s lies. We must stand against their demands. If we buckle and decide to carry out his wicked demands, we will never be able to wash our hands of our guilt.

"Joshua Gives the Signal for the Attack on Ai" artwork by James Tissot

Joshua 8

I believe the physical story of Joshua and the Israelites against the city of Ai offer a spiritual prophetic warning to us today. When there was sin in the Israelite camp, when Achan had stolen and hidden within his tent items God has designated for destruction, the Israelites were defeated by Ai (I don’t think that the city’s name is a coincidence either – AI = artificial intelligence).

After they had consecrated themselves before God and removed the sin from their camp, God then gave them victory. The Israelites were able to surround their enemies and completely destroy them.

After Ai had been defeated, Joshua built an altar to the LORD and “wrote there on the stones a copy of the law of Moses.” (v.32) “There was not a word of all that Moses had commanded which Joshua did not read before all the assembly of Israel with the women, the little ones, and the strangers who were living among them.” (v.35)

There is a message in Joshua for us today. I believe God is calling us to consecrate ourselves, to return to Him and examine the tents of our own hearts and churches to remove any items God has designated for destruction. I believe we are being called to teach our congregations and children the TRUTH again and not this watered down, seeker-friendly, politically correct mush that is being offered from many pulpits today. I believe we need to stand up boldly and proclaim that Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life. (And if you don’t believe that Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life, then you’ve got a lot of items God has designated for destruction buried in your tent.)

I believe that if we will do this, God WILL bring a great revival in our country and all over the world.