Lesson 10 -- fourth quarter 2009
November 8, 2009
© Copyright 2009
Am I in denial about any of the ugly things in verse one?
How does my desire for God's Word rate?
What spiritual sacrifice can I offer God today?
How does Jesus become precious to me?
"Out of darkness" -- Is that where I am?
What shall I do with the mercy I have obtained?
"Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings" (1 Peter 2:1).
All. Of. It.
Don't hang on to it.
Let it go.
Drop it...and get out of there.
It sounds so easy.
I don't think some of those trouble me. And I'm glad.
But malice and envy can ensnare me so quickly at times.
They've all got to go.
Otherwise, how shall I...
"...desire the sincere milk of the word..." (1 Peter 2:2)?
"...offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God..." (1 Peter 2:5)?
"...shew forth the praises of him..." (1 Peter 2:9)?
"God be merciful unto us, and bless us; and cause his face to shine upon us; Selah" (Psalm 67:1).
So we call on God to show us His mercy, blessing, and favor. Without these, we could not survive, not even for a moment. Whether we realize it or not, whether we acknowledge it or not, we are utterly and totally dependent on His mercy, blessing, and favor. So we call on Him for them.
But why should He grant us our request?
I suppose entire books and sermons have been dedicated to answering that question, exploring many dimensions and angles. Right now let's consider only the reason given in verse two of Psalm 67: "That thy way may be known upon earth, thy saving health among all nations."
A few days ago, as I fished for some money from my wallet, the cashier wondered how I was. My reply, while accurate, lacked Christian depth: "I'm alive; that counts for a lot." Granted, I wasn't feeling too great right then and my answer, while having negative implications, did have a somewhat positive spin. But, I ask you, how did my answer contribute to making God and His ways known? What answer would have better met the purpose and commitment found in Psalm 67:1,2?
How easily we forget that when God plants, He expects to reap! In this case, He has generously, even predictably, planted mercy, blessing, and favor in our lives. What do you think He expects to harvest? One fruit we can yield to Him is a life that declares His mercy, blessing, and favor. We could use our lips to praise Him (Psalm 67:3).
Checkers are expected to be polite and interactive with customers. (It's good for business and customer relations, you know.) I wonder what she would have responded had I answered her question with something like "I'm enjoying the mercies of God."
A closing word of caution, though: Ensure that your words and your life match! I could say "I'm enjoying the mercies of God" but if I'm not, that's a lie that slaps God's face and honor with abominable hypocrisy. Furthermore, if my demeanor and countenance suggest something other than an enjoyment of God's mercy, then my hearer will be turned off as well.
"Can the world see Jesus when they look at your life?"
God always deserves and merits our praise, but will He accept our praise anytime and anywhere? Think about these verses a little more.
"Sing unto the LORD, bless his name; shew forth his salvation from day to day" (Psalm 96:2). Those last four words definitely sound as though praising and blessing God are acceptable anytime -- in school, in trouble, on the job, on the run, at home, at rest.
"Declare his glory among the heathen, his wonders among all people" (Psalm 96:3). This verse also gives us license to praise and bless the Lord wherever and whenever -- among His people, among the heathen, among those of unknown spiritual condition, among all people.
"O worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness: fear before him, all the earth" (Psalm 96:9). Now there's a challenging qualifier! Praising and blessing a holy God makes the most impact on God and others when backed and made richer by a holy life.
This concludes my comments based on the passage for the International Bible Study. To read my comments on the alternate lesson developed by Christian Light Publications, click here: The Delusion of Strong Drink.
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