What woeful words greet us; what mournful landscape is hung before our eyes, sketched by the son of Hilkiah, otherwise known as the weeping prophet! “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved. It’s one thing to pronounce judgment and it’s another thing to do so with streaming eyes. Jeremiah didn't earn his epithet without warrant; as goes the name, as goes the man! “Oh that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people!” (Jer. 9:1). The false prophets spoke words of flattering ease and comfort, but the true prophets called God’s people to repentance and foretold of coming judgment.
As we look across our nation and to the Church that is within it, will there not a voice arise to cry out to Living God if perhaps He might mercy and stand on God’s Word? “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land (2 Chron. 7:14).
“The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want” — coming from the pen of shepherd!! It is no coincidence that the latter words “...I shall not want” should follow fast on the heels of the former “The LORD is my shepherd”. The two are intrinsically linked together and the latter proceeds out of the former. It is because the LORD is a shepherd, that the sheep under His watchful care shall lack for nothing!! While the shepherd is near, the sheep have nothing to worry about!! You see, the shepherds of the middle east were different from those we’re perhaps accustomed to in the West. Here in England, we frequently see sheep grazing freely on the rolling hills with no shepherd in sight and without a seeming care in the world! But in Biblical times, in ancient Israel, this would have proven fatal! It was the shepherd’s chief duty to watch over his flock in order to protect them from predators.
In his sermon, we look at the Good Shepherd and take comfort from that 23rd Psalm which down through the ages has proven to be a balm of consolation for countless millions.
Which specialist army unit deploys an inconsistent marksman to take out an enemy target? Which coach puts forward an inconsistent striker to take the deciding penalty? Yet, if we’re honest with ourselves (and I’m speaking of things pertaining to our Christian walk), we leave far too much margin for error in our lives. Inconsistencies which ought to be consistencies, variables which ought to be constants; and yet, when I open the Word of God, I don’t see these margins of error being left us for waver. Instead, I see imperatives (instructional commands) where the expectation is for full compliance!
This sermon is an exhortation for believers to lay hold on God and to press through into a life of consistency.
Knowing the Bible for Yourself (Pt. 10)
The first recorded song sung in the Bible was the Song of Moses and the last recorded song that will one day be sung is also the song of Moses (Rev. 15:3). Did you know that there are some 185 songs recorded in Holy Scripture, most of which are found in the Book of Psalms? If you were God, would you choose to include in your collection of books, a book solely consisting of songs? Would you choose to make this book the largest book in your collection of books and would you have it contain the longest chapter? What does all of this tell us? It clearly sends a message, telling us that songs are important to God! It has been calculated that there are 283 direct quotations from the Tanakh (Old Testament) found in the New Testament. Did you know that the greatest number of quotes coming from any one book is the Book of Psalms!
One cannot overestimate the role that David played in bringing structured praise into the House of God. In the days of the Tabernacle of Moses, there was no designated place for the worship of God via song and music in the instructions given to Moses on the Mount. However, in the instructions given by David for the construction of the Temple praise and worship played a prominent part. In this tenth teaching part, we take a look at this fascinating book and provide some practical helps that will enable us to better interpret it.
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2 Samuel 23:8-39
As one surveys the annals of history, down through the corridors of time, one will find that history polluted and stained by war. Bloodshed has left its indelible mark upon the human race, the horrors of battle recorded by those who never lived to tell their story in person. If there’s one thing that history bears witness to, it’s this, war is not a thing to be desired!! However, having said that, there is something about the environment of war that is able to accomplish something that a pre-war environment simply cannot do. Brothers and Sisters, it is in the climate of war where heroes are born!! A pre-war generation of peace is known by its cowards, and the generation of war, by its heroes!
This sermon is a heart cry for men to rise up in this critical hour and to give themselves to the fight!! A Church in retreat will never do. Is there one who would say with the shepherd boy David “Let no man's heart fail because of him; thy servant will go and fight with this Philistine” (1 Sam. 17:32)? May the Lord see fit to do such a work of restoration in our day.
Brother Ryan comes with a very strong and timely word to the Body of Christ. Drawing from the life and example of Ezekiel, Ryan brings a practical application to believers in relation to the value we place on our lives and this world.
Who will pick up their cross in this critical hour and live wholeheartedly for Jesus Christ?