The earth and all that’s upon it belong to the Eternal.
The world is His, with every living creature on it.
With seas as foundations and rivers as boundaries,
He shaped the continents, fashioned the earth.
Who can possibly ascend the mountain of the Eternal?
Who can stand before Him in sacred spaces?
Only those whose hands have been washed and hearts made pure,
men and women who are not given to lies or deception.
The Eternal will stand close to them with blessing and mercy at hand,
and the God who redeems will right what has been wrong.
These are the people who chase after Him;
[like Jacob, they look for the face of God].
City gates—open wide!
Ancient doors—stand back!
For the glorious King shall soon pass your way.
Who is the glorious King?
The Eternal who is powerful
and mightily equipped for battle.
City gates—open wide!
Ancient doors—stand back!
For the glorious King shall soon pass your way.
Who is the glorious King?
The Eternal, Commander of heaven’s army,
He is the glorious King.
As Moses went up to meet God, God called down to him from the mountain:
“Speak to the House of Jacob, tell the People of Israel:
‘You have seen what I did to Egypt and how I carried you on eagles’ wings
and brought you to Me.
If you will listen obediently to what I say and keep My covenant,
out of all peoples you’ll be My special treasure.
The whole Earth is Mine to choose from, but you’re special: a kingdom of priests, a holy nation.’
“This is what I want you to tell the People of Israel.”
“At the same time that I was given back my mind,
I was also given back my majesty and splendor, making my kingdom SHINE.
All the leaders and important people came looking for me.
I was reestablished as king in my kingdom and became greater than ever.
And that’s why I’m singing—I, Nebuchadnezzar—singing and praising the King of Heaven:
“Everything He does is right, and He does it the right way.
He knows how to TURN a proud person into a humble man or woman.”
All the best to you from The God Who Is, The God Who Was, and The God About to Arrive,
and from the Seven Spirits assembled before His throne,
and from Jesus Christ—Loyal Witness, Firstborn from the dead, Ruler of all earthly kings.
Glory and strength to Christ, who loves us,
who blood-washed our sins from our lives,
Who made us a Kingdom, Priests for his Father,
forever—and yes, He’s on his way!
Riding the clouds, He’ll be seen by every eye,
those who mocked and killed Him will see Him,
People from all nations and all times
will tear their clothes in lament.
The Master declares, “I’m A to Z. I’m The God Who Is, The God Who Was,
and The God About to Arrive. I’m the Sovereign-Strong.”
“Do you feel like a lowly worm, Jacob?
Don’t be afraid.
Feel like a fragile insect, Israel?
I’ll help you.
I, God, want to reassure you.
The God who buys you back, The Holy of Israel.
I’m transforming you from worm to harrow,
from insect to iron.
As a sharp-toothed harrow you’ll smooth out the mountains,
turn those tough old hills into loamy soil.
You’ll open the rough ground to the weather,
to the blasts of sun and wind and rain.
But you’ll be confident and exuberant,
expansive in The Holy of Israel!
“The poor and homeless are desperate for water,
their tongues parched and no water to be found.
But I’m there to be found, I’m there for them,
and I, God of Israel, will not leave them thirsty.
I’ll open up rivers for them on the barren hills,
spout fountains in the valleys.
I’ll turn the baked-clay badlands into a cool pond,
the waterless waste into splashing creeks.
I’ll plant the red cedar in that treeless wasteland,
also acacia, myrtle, and olive.
I’ll place the cypress in the desert,
with plenty of oaks and pines.
Everyone will see this. No one can miss it—
unavoidable, indisputable evidence
That I, God, personally did this.
It’s created and signed by The Holy of Israel.
This is the message with which the Eternal burdened His prophet concerning Israel—the Eternal One, who began existence by stretching out the sky and founding the earth and forming the spirit deep in man.
Watch what I’m about to do! I’m going to make Jerusalem like a cup of strong alcohol
to confuse all her neighboring peoples. When they lay siege to Jerusalem, Judah will also be in the fight.
On that day, when the enemies begin the attack, I will make Jerusalem a solid stone which cannot be moved;
any who try to lift her will only be weighed down and seriously hurt themselves.
All the nations on earth will come together to oppose her.
And on that day I promise I, the Eternal One, will confound every horse and drive every rider to madness.
I will keep a watchful eye on the people of Judah even as I blind every war horse from every enemy nation.
Every clan of Judah will see what I am doing and believe,
“The people of Jerusalem cannot be beaten because the Eternal, Commander of heavenly armies
and their True God, leads them.”
On that day, I will make the clans of Judah unstoppable against their enemies,
a blazing pot igniting a pile of tinder, a flaming torch consuming dry bundles of wheat.
They will devour all the surrounding peoples, those to the right and those to the left,
but Jerusalem will remain safe and secure, bustling with citizens.
The Eternal will ensure that victory comes first to the tents of Judah,
so that the respect due the family of David and the citizens of Jerusalem
will not outstrip the respect owed to Judah as a whole.
So Jerusalem need not boast, but neither should it fear.
When that day comes, the Eternal will protect her citizens as a shield does.
He will make the weak who stumble become like David, brave in battle; the royal line of David will be like God,
like the Special Messenger of the Eternal One who goes before them in travels and in battle.
On that day, rest assured, I will set out to destroy all the nations who attack Jerusalem.
And I pledge that I will pour out a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy on the family of David
and the citizens of Jerusalem. As a result, they will look upon Me whom they pierced,
they will grieve over Him as one grieves for an only child, and they will moan and weep for Him
as one weeps for a firstborn son.
On that day, the grieving in Jerusalem will be as great as the pagans’ grieving ritual
honoring Hadadrimmon on the plain of Megiddo each year.
The land itself will seem to mourn as family after family begins to grieve privately:
the family of David and their wives, the family of Nathan’s descendants and their wives,
the family of Levi and their wives, the family of Shimei and their wives,
and all the families that are left and their wives. They will all mourn, a profound and private grief.
Wishing to Be Near God
A psalm of David when he was in the desert of Judah.
God, you are my God.
I search for You.
I thirst for You
like someone in a dry, empty land
where there is no water.
So you must change your hearts and lives! Come back to God, and He will forgive your sins.
Then the Lord will send the time of rest. (Acts 3:19
THE TIMES OF REFRESHING COME FROM THE PRESENCE OF THE LORD
But Jesus was matter-of-fact: “Yes—and if you embrace this kingdom life and don’t doubt God,
you’ll not only do minor feats like I did to the fig tree, but also triumph over huge obstacles.
This mountain, for instance, you’ll tell, ‘Go jump in the lake,’ and it will jump.
Absolutely everything, ranging from small to large, as you make it a part of your believing prayer,
gets included as you lay hold of God.”
Job humbled himself under the hand of God. (Job 1:20)
True worship bows down to the Sovereignty of God.
Like Jesus who emptied himself and came to fulfill the will of the Father who sent him–
Not our will be Thine be done on earth as it is in heaven, Amen.
If a man cannot prove his religion in the valley, it is not worth anything.
Wisdom From Oswald Chambers, Shade of His Hand, 1200 L
The dead cannot sing praises to the Lord,
for they have gone into the silence of the grave.
But we can praise the Lord
both now and forever!
Praise the Lord!
So now you see how the Creator swept into being the spangled heavens, the earth, and all their hosts in six days. On the seventh day—with the canvas of the cosmos completed—God paused from His labor and rested.
Thus God blessed day seven and made it special—an open time for pause and restoration,
a sacred zone of Sabbath-keeping, because God rested from all the work He had done in creation that day.
God’s rest on the seventh day is a model for the kind of Sabbath rest He wants for His people.
This is the detailed story of the Eternal God’s singular work in creating all that exists.
On the day the heavens and earth were created, there were no plants or vegetation to cover the earth.
The fields were barren and empty, because the Eternal God had not sent the rains to nourish the soil
or anyone to tend it.
In those days, a mist rose up from the ground to blanket the earth, and its vapors irrigated the land.
One day the Eternal God scooped dirt out of the ground, sculpted it into the shape we call human,
breathed the breath that gives life into the nostrils of the human, and the human became a living soul.
When human body meets divine spirit, soul is born.
Divine breath and sculpted earth come together to make up the living soul.
For thousands of years, philosophers and theologians have posed the question:
what is a human being? Here God gives the answer.
The Eternal God planted a garden in the east in Eden—a place of utter delight—
and placed the man whom He had sculpted there.
In this garden, He made the ground pregnant with life—bursting forth with nourishing food and luxuriant beauty. He created trees, and in the center of this garden of delights stood the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
A river flowed from Eden to irrigate the garden, and from there it separated into four smaller rivers.
The first, the Pishon, flows around the land of Havilah—a rich land plentiful in gold of premium quality,
bdellium, and onyx stones. The second, the Gihon, flows around the entire land of Cush.
The third, the Tigris, flows east of Assyria, and the fourth is the Euphrates.
The Eternal God placed the newly made man in the garden of Eden in order to work the ground and care for it.
He made certain demands of the man regarding life in the garden.
God: Eat freely from any and all trees in the garden; I only require that you abstain from eating the fruit of one tree—the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Beware: the day you eat the fruit of this tree, you will certainly die.
After God gives man this directive, He realizes something is missing.
It is not good for the man to be alone, so I will create a companion for him, a perfectly suited partner.
So out of the same ground the man was made from, the Eternal God sculpted every sort of animal and every kind of bird that flies up in the sky. Then He brought them to the man and gave him the authority to name each creature as he saw fit: whatever he decided to call it, that became its name. Thus the man chose names for domesticated animals, birds, and wild beasts. But none of these creatures was a right and proper partner for Adam.
The authority to name something is unique to humanity. To name is to share in God’s creative act.
So the Eternal God put him into a deep sleep, removed a rib from his side, and closed the flesh around the opening. He formed a woman from the rib taken out of the man and presented her to him.
Adam: At last, a suitable companion, a perfect partner.
Bone from my bones.
Flesh from my flesh.
I will call this one “woman” as an eternal reminder
that she was taken out of man.
Now this is the reason a man leaves his father and his mother, and is united with his wife; and the two become one flesh. In those days the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.
Far be it from God to commit evil acts;
and from the Highest One to engage in wrongdoing!
For He is like an employer
who pays workers according to what they have done;
He makes sure the rewards they receive match their conduct.
Oh, unimaginable thought—that God would cause evil!
The Highest One does not pervert justice!
Who designated Him as earth’s overseer?
Who placed Him in charge of the entire world?
If He made it His aim to do so,
if He recalled to Himself His spirit and His breath,
All living creatures would expire as one
and humankind would return to the dust from which He formed them.
This is what the parable of the sower means. It is about the kingdom of heaven.
When someone hears the story of the Kingdom and cannot understand it,
the evil one comes and snatches away whatever goodness and holiness had been sown in the heart.
This is like the seeds sown beside the road.
You know people who hear the word of God and receive it joyfully—
but then, somehow, the word fails to take root in their hearts. It is temporary.
As soon as there is trouble for those people, they trip: those people are the seeds strewn on the rocky soil.
And you know people who hear the word, but it is choked inside them because they constantly worry and prefer the wealth and pleasures of the world: they prefer drunken dinner parties to prayer, power to piety, and riches to righteousness. Those people are like the seeds sown among thorns.
The people who hear the word and receive it and grow in it—those are like the seeds sown on good soil.
They produce a bumper crop, 30 or 60 or 100 times what was sown.
The Happy Home
A song for going up to worship.
Happy are those who respect the Lord and obey Him.
You will enjoy what you work for,
and you will be blessed with good things.
Your wife will give you many children,
like a vine that produces much fruit.
Your children will bring you much good,
like olive branches that produce many olives.
This is how the man who respects the Lord
will be blessed.
May the Lord bless you from Mount Zion;
may you enjoy the good things of Jerusalem all your life.
May you see your grandchildren.
Let there be peace in Israel.
Israel Returns to God
Israel, return to the Lord your God,
because your sins have made you fall.
Come back to the Lord
and say these words to him:
“Take away all our sin
and kindly receive us,
and we will keep the promises we made to You.
Assyria cannot save us,
nor will we trust in our horses.
We will not say again, ‘Our gods,’
to the things our hands have made.
You show mercy to orphans.”
The Lord says,
“I will forgive them for leaving Me
and will love them freely,
because I am not angry with them anymore.
I will be like the dew to Israel,
and they will blossom like a lily.
Like the cedar trees in Lebanon,
their roots will be firm.
They will be like spreading branches,
like the beautiful olive trees
and the sweet-smelling cedars in Lebanon.
The people of Israel will again live under My protection.
They will grow like the grain,
they will bloom like a vine,
and they will be as famous as the wine of Lebanon.
Israel, have nothing to do with idols.
I, the Lord, am the one who answers your prayers and watches over you.
I am like a green pine tree;
your blessings come from Me.”
A wise person will know these things,
and an understanding person will take them to heart.
The Lord’s ways are right.
Good people live by following them,
but those who turn against God die because of them.
Lord, Bring Your People Back
A song for going up to worship.
When the Lord brought the prisoners back to Jerusalem,
it seemed as if we were dreaming.
Then we were filled with laughter,
and we sang happy songs.
Then the other nations said,
“The Lord has done great things for them.”
The Lord has done great things for us,
and we are very glad.
Lord, return our prisoners again,
as you bring streams to the desert.
Those who cry as they plant crops
will sing at harvest time.
Those who cry
as they carry out the seeds
will return singing
and carrying bundles of grain.
To all who mourn in Israel,
he will give a crown of beauty for ashes,
a joyous blessing instead of mourning,
festive praise instead of despair.
In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks
that the Lord has planted for His own glory.