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Soldier4Christ
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« Reply #45 on: February 03, 2006, 12:19:54 PM »


A Little Flock

"Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom" (Luke 12:32).

The world tends to measure success by size, and this seems generally true in the Christian world as well. The most "successful" churches are considered to be those with the largest congregations, or the largest budgets, or the greatest number of converts baptized each year, or some other quantitative index. But this is not God's criterion. At the judgment seat of Christ, "the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is" (I Corinthians 3:13). Not how big it is, but of what sort it is! Quality, not quantity, is the criterion.

Christ's encouraging words to the "little flock" were given towards the end of an extended warning against the desire to accumulate wealth. "Take heed, and beware of covetousness," He had said (Luke 12:15), speaking to His small group of followers. He was their Shepherd and would provide the needs of His "little flock."

Christ's warnings against individual covetousness evidently apply also to group covetousness. A church, or any other Christian organization, needs continually to guard against the desire to be impressive in the eyes of the world. The cities of Christendom exhibit many ornate cathedrals and temples that are now mostly empty and spiritually dead.

The Lord Jesus promised an "open door" to the little church at Philadelphia, because it had "little strength" and had "kept [His] word" (Revelation 3:Cool, but threatened to "spue . . . out of [His] mouth" the tepid church at Laodicea, which was boasting that she was "rich, and increased with goods" (Revelation 3:16-17). Not every "little flock" has kept God's Word, nor has every big flock become lukewarm, but Christ's words serve as both warning and encouragement. The greater blessings of the coming kingdom have been promised to the faithful "little flock."

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« Reply #46 on: February 03, 2006, 12:21:53 PM »


Worship of Idols and Demons

"They sacrificed unto devils, not to God; to gods whom they knew not, to new gods that came newly up, whom your fathers feared not" (Deuteronomy 32:17).

This terrible indictment was in the farewell song of Moses, written just before the tribes of Israel prepared to enter the Promised Land. Perhaps Moses was thinking mainly of the golden calf fashioned by Aaron who had told the people: "These be thy gods, O Israel" (Exodus 32:4).

Aaron and the people certainly knew that the man-made calf was not "gods," but they knew that there were many invisible spirit beings in the world and that these "devils" (actually fallen angels) could indwell images made by men as objects of worship. These evil spirits do possess certain powers, which can be used to impress their worshippers with the magical insights and abilities of the images.

This was also a problem in the early church. Paul warned his converts at Corinth: "The things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils" (I Corinthians 10:20). John's closing word to his own flock was: "Little children, keep yourselves from idols" (I John 5:21).

And it is a serious problem today--not only in those lands where images and animalistic spirits abound, but even in the "Christian" west, both in the proliferating New Age cults and in those "mainline" churches that have diluted sound Bible teaching with humanism and ritualistic pantheism. And remember, too, that "covetousness" (that is, coveting money, or power, or anything more than the will of God) "is idolatry" (Colossians 3:5). When the prince of these devils himself sought the worship of Jesus, the Lord answered: "Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve" (Matthew 4:10). We need to remember and follow His example.

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« Reply #47 on: February 03, 2006, 12:22:50 PM »


Present with the Lord

"We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord" (II Corinthians 5:Cool.

This verse has proved of great comfort to many a sorrowing believer who has just lost a loved one. Especially if they know that the parent or child or friend was also a believer in the saving work and person of Christ, then--although they sorrow--they "sorrow not, even as others which have no hope" (I Thessalonians 4:13).

For that loved one, though no longer in that old body which had perhaps been filled with pain, is now with the Lord. That is, he or she has been given a somewhat indescribable spiritual body in which to function in heaven until the coming resurrection day. Although that may not yet be the wonderful life that awaits them in their glorified, resurrection bodies in the ages to come, they will be "with Christ; which is far better" than this present life (Philippians 1:23).

There are a number of sincere believers who argue that dead Christians will simply "sleep" until He comes again to raise the dead. While a certain case can be developed for this "soul-sleep" concept, it is hard to see how that could be "far better" than this present life. Paul said that he had a "desire to depart, and to be with Christ" and also that "to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain" (Philippians 1:23,21). But what "gain" could there be for him in simply "sleeping" instead of continuing to live in Christ?

The Scriptures do not reveal much about that "intermediate state," as it has been called. But there is that intriguing verse about being "compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses" who perhaps are somehow watching us as we "run with patience the race that is set before us" here on Earth (Hebrews 12:1). That possibility can be a real incentive to do just that.

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« Reply #48 on: February 03, 2006, 12:23:52 PM »


No Night There

"And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof" (Revelation 21:23).

This description is of the holy city, which someday will come down from God out of heaven to be established on the new Earth when "the first earth" will have "passed away" (Revelation 21:1). Note also that "there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light" (Revelation 22:5).There will be no need for night there, for no one will ever need to sleep. The residents of the city will have glorified bodies, like that of their Redeemer (see Philippians 3:21).

That all sounds wonderful, but there does seem at first to be a contradiction with certain passages which reveal that God's created heavens will exist forever. "Praise ye Him, sun and moon: . . . for He commanded, and they were created. He hath also established them for ever and ever: . . ." (Psalm 148:3,5-6). ". . . whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever . . . " (Ecclesiastes 3:14). He is the Creator, not the de-Creator. "[David's] seed shall endure for ever, and His throne as the sun before me. It shall be established for ever as the moon, and as a faithful witness in heaven" (Psalm 89:36-37).

But the sun and moon, like the earth, have to be purified. Because of sin (angelic as well as human), "the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now" (Romans 8:22). God will have to "create" new heavens, including sun and moon, like the new earth, but they will be the originals simply made new again, for they were all "very good" (Genesis 1:31) in the first place. However, although they will then remain forever, those in the holy city will not need them for light, for God, who is Light, will be its light, and "there shall be no night there."

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« Reply #49 on: February 03, 2006, 12:25:42 PM »


The Secret Things

"The secret things belong unto the Lord our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law" (Deuteronomy 29:29).

This portion of Scripture follows a lengthy re-statement of the Covenant of God with His people, Israel. In this chapter, Moses reminded the people of the works that God had wrought on their behalf in their deliverance from Pharaoh, in His provision for them in the wilderness, and in His protection on the battlefield (vv.2-8).

In this final address, he encouraged them to "Keep therefore the words of this covenant, and do them, that ye may prosper in all that ye do" (v.9), and stated the various blessings that would be theirs if they would do so. Lastly, he described, in graphic and burning words, the results of breaking the covenant and incurring the judgment of God (vv.18-27). "And the Lord rooted them out of their land in anger, and in wrath, and in great indignation, and cast them into another land, as it is this day" (v.28).

In recognition of the limitations of humankind, Moses wrote in our text that there are certain things known only to God, which He has veiled--things which cannot be understood by the human mind--things which He simply chooses to keep to Himself. But he goes on to say that He has revealed certain things to us, and these things we must obey. Consequently, our text consists of a great principle of life: We must do what we know to do. We don't know everything, but we must act responsibly and properly to that which He has told us, leaving the "secret things" and their consequences to God. Elsewhere, He promises that even the secret things will "work together for good to them that love God" (Romans 8:28)--in His sovereign plan. We must obey, doing what we know to do, and leave the results with Him.

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« Reply #50 on: February 04, 2006, 03:44:52 PM »

Marital Problems


"And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by Him" (Colossians 3:17).

Marriage has always had a high place--a high calling. In the beginning, God's stated purpose in marriage was to propagate children (Genesis 1:28) and to eliminate solitude (2:18). Such a state was deemed "very good" (1:31). But sin entered through Adam's rebellion, and the universal Curse resulted. Out of this came a new marital relationship, one full of potential problems, for "He said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee" (3:16). It is safe to say that the many excesses on both sides of a marriage that we see today are the legacy of sin.

Not only is marriage affected by the Curse, Satan himself delights in destroying marriage. Immediately after the Curse, we see that he introduced numerous practices which are detrimental to a proper marriage. The ungodly lineage of Cain began to practice polygamy (4:19). Later, Noah's son, Ham, indulged in sexual thoughts and innuendoes (9:22). Even godly Abram participated in an extramarital affair which, even though not specifically condemned, was harmful to his marriage (16:1-3).

Soon after this, we read about all sorts of immorality, including homosexuality in Sodom and Gomorrah (19:1-10); fornication, rape, marriage to unbelievers (34:1-2); the practice of incest (35:22; 38:13-18), prostitution (38:24), and seduction (39:7-12).

What is the solution for this age-long attack on the family? We must heed the guidelines given in Scripture for a godly marriage. Passages such as those surrounding our text are well worth our study.

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« Reply #51 on: February 05, 2006, 12:55:11 PM »

The Holy One of Israel


"So will I make my holy name known in the midst of my people Israel; and I will not let them pollute my holy name any more: and the heathen shall know that I am the Lord, the Holy One in Israel" (Ezekiel 39:7).

This wonderful name of God, "the Holy One of Israel," was often used during the days of the later kings of Judah. It occurs three times in the book of Psalms (Psalm 71:22; 78:41; 89:18) and then no less than 27 times in Isaiah. The name then occurs three more times (Jeremiah 50:29; 51:5; Ezekiel 39:7), with the final one being our text above (where the preposition is translated "in"). This unusual pattern can be written sequentially as 3 + 33 + 3 = 33, perhaps reflecting a divinely ordained design to suggest the Holy Trinity.

The strong emphasis on this particular name during the later period of Judah's kingdom, probably was because of the prevalent unholiness of the nation during those years, finally culminating in the captivity of Judah itself. God stressed again and again that He was the Holy One, and that "Ye shall be holy; for I am holy" (Leviticus 11:44).

This theme is prominent in most of the 33 passages where this majestic name is used, but it is especially emphasized in its final occurrence, as recorded in our text. The context of this latter passage is the prophesied invasion of Israel by "Gog, the land of Magog" who will "come up against my people of Israel . . . in the latter days" (Ezekiel 38:2,16). At that time, says the Lord, "there shall be a great shaking in the land of Israel; . . . and I will be known in the eyes of many nations, and they shall know that I am the Lord" (Ezekiel 38:19,23). Then at last, His people will never pollute His holy name any more and "the house of Israel shall know that I am the Lord their God from that day and forward. . . . for I have poured out my Spirit upon the house of Israel, saith the Lord God" (Ezekiel 39:22,29).

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« Reply #52 on: February 06, 2006, 10:36:06 AM »

The Whole Heart


"I will praise thee with my whole heart: before the gods will I sing praise unto thee" (Psalm 138:1).

When we sing or testify of our praise to God, it should not be perfunctory praise or repetitive rote praise. It should be sincere and wholehearted, personal praise. We should especially praise Him for revealing to us eternal truth, as written in His inspired Word. Further, we should not hesitate to praise our true God, even amidst all the false "gods" of this world. As the next verse says, He has magnified His Word above all His name! That is, the Holy Scriptures are our greatest physical possession of all the things in this world, for they alone will "not pass away" (Matthew 24:35). His Word is "For ever . . . settled in heaven" (Psalm 119:89).

This phrase, "the whole heart," occurs a number of times in the Bible, especially in the psalm of the Word, Psalm 119. Note the testimony of the psalmist in this great psalm.

   1. "Blessed are they that keep His testimonies, and that seek Him with the whole heart" (v.2).
   2. "With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments" (v.10).
   3. "Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy law; yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart" (v.34).
   4. "I entreated thy favor with my whole heart: be merciful unto me according to thy word" (v.58).
   5. "The proud have forged a lie against me: but I will keep thy precepts with my whole heart" (v.69).
   6. "I cried with my whole heart; hear me, O Lord: I will keep thy statutes" (v.145).

Thus, we should "keep His testimonies" (v.2), "keep thy law" (v.34), "keep thy precepts" (v.69), and "keep thy statutes" (v.145) with our whole heart, for the good and sufficient reason that He is our Lord and has given us His eternal Word, magnified above all His name.

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« Reply #53 on: February 07, 2006, 10:26:58 AM »

Fullness in Famine


"In famine He shall redeem thee from death: and in war from the power of the sword" (Job 5:20).

How wonderful it is as a child of God to be able to lay our future in His hands when calamities strike around us. God has said: "Behold, the eye of the Lord is upon them that fear Him, upon them that hope in His mercy; To deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine" (Psalm 33:18-19). King David had been through great hardship early in his life. Yet he wrote: "I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread" (Psalm 37:25).

Throughout Scripture we see God's promises claimed and fulfilled during times of want. When Jacob's family came to face famine in Palestine he heard "There is corn in Egypt" (Genesis 42:2). As famine squeezed all the nations, and it seemed inevitable that God's chosen people would suffer great want, God had providentially provided in advance by allowing Joseph to be given authority in Egypt.

During the famine of Elijah's day God told the prophet, "And it shall be, that thou shalt drink of the brook; and I have commanded the ravens to feed thee there" (I Kings 17:4). Thus if no man provides, God will have the birds ensure His promise is kept. Even if the animals were to fail, we know that the angels can minister, as they served Christ in the wilderness (Matthew 4:11). Indeed, God provided food straight from heaven for His people enroute to the Promised Land. God's storehouse is never exhausted and during times of want we should recall, "Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you" (Matthew 6:31,33).

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« Reply #54 on: February 08, 2006, 01:39:52 PM »

Israel's Confession of Faith


"Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might" (Deuteronomy 6:4-5).

As stated in the law, Deuteronomy 6:4-9 was to be recited by all Jews both morning and evening, for it contains God's basic plan for passing on the message of God from generation to generation.

The primary teaching is contained in verse 4. There is only one God, indivisible, although in three persons. His divine uniqueness precludes the worship of any other deity. The response to this message is that we should love that God with our entire being. Jesus Christ recognized this as the first and greatest commandment (Mark 12:30), teaching that obedience to it fulfilled one's duty to the entire law.

The message was so important that God even gave the mechanics for passing it on. In verse 6, we see that "these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart." Each person, particularly parents (v.7), needed a heart commitment to God's commandments, statutes, and judgments (vv.1-2).

Next, they had to commit themselves to raising up a godly heritage. "Thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children" (v.7). This teaching was to be first of all, oral teaching. They were also to dress in such a way that it reflected their commitment to the law of God (v.Cool and they were to place visual reminders of the law of God all around their homes so that the children were constantly reminded of the things of God (v.9).

Christians need to discover the truth of this passage. We must not merely assume the godly teaching of our children, but also actively cultivate it. At stake is not only the personal walk of our children, but also the eternal message of God.

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« Reply #55 on: February 09, 2006, 10:35:19 AM »

The Joy of Reconciliation


"And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement" (Romans 5:11).

The Greek word for "atonement" in this verse is kátallage, which everywhere else (some ten times, either this word or its related forms) is translated "reconciliation" (or "reconciled" or "reconciling"). The connotation is that of full restoration to full fellowship after long enmity and alienation.

The Hebrew word for "atonement" (kaphar, meaning "covering") occurs some 80 times in the Old Testament, over half of them in Leviticus. It normally referred to the "covering" of one's sins by the shed blood of an innocent (and blemish-free) animal sacrifice.

Although this could provide some comfort to the sinner, there was little to be joyful about, since the covering was only temporary and the sins were still there. When Christ came, however, He became "the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world" (John 1:29). He "put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself" (Hebrews 9:26).

Consequently, "atonement" (in the sense of a temporary covering) is never mentioned at all in the New Testament. Instead, we have been fully "reconciled to God by the death of His Son" (Romans 5:10). Thus our text is really saying that we have real joy in God through Christ, "by whom we have now received the reconciliation!"

Our fellowship with our heavenly Father has been fully restored by the wonderful gift of eternal salvation through the work of Christ, "Who was delivered for our offenses, and was raised again for our justification" (Romans 4:25). And as we rejoice in the Lord, we must remember, too, that He "hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation," so that we are "ambassadors for Christ," beseeching others also to "be ye reconciled to God" (II Corinthians 5:18,20).

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« Reply #56 on: February 10, 2006, 02:24:05 PM »

Long Enough


"And the Lord spake unto me, saying, Ye have compassed this mountain long enough: turn you northward" (Deu-teronomy 2:2-3).

This was the second time God had to rebuke Israel for staying too long in one place. Here they were camped adjacent to the region controlled by the descendants of Esau and thus kinsmen of the Israelites, but God told them to go on north toward Canaan.

Long before, they had wanted to stay too long at Mount Sinai (same as Horeb) where God had given the law to Moses. Finally, "The Lord our God spake unto us in Horeb, saying, Ye have dwelt long enough in this mount: . . . Behold, I have set the land before you: go in and possess the land which the Lord sware unto your fathers . . ." (Deuteronomy 1:6,8).

It is possible for a Christian to become too satisfied with his level of attainment, when the Lord may well have something more for him to do. Possibly, like Israel at Sinai, we may be content to stay in a situation where we have seen God work in the past. Or, like Israel at Edom's Mount Seir, we want to stay in what we think may be friendly surroundings, rather than venture into overtly enemy territory. Perhaps we have stayed long enough at a certain stage in our Christian growth or service, and God wants us to go further.

Paul wanted to continue preaching near his home in Asia, but God said for him to go on into Europe (Acts 16:6-10). Peter asked Jesus what John was going to do, but Jesus said, "what is that to thee? follow thou me" (John 21:22).

God may, indeed, want us to continue all of our lives right where He has placed us now, as far as location and position are concerned, but He does want us to go on further with Him. The last words written by Peter are profoundly important. "But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" (II Peter 3:18).

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« Reply #57 on: February 10, 2006, 02:29:50 PM »


Treasure in Heaven

"Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth" (Luke 12:33).

The Lord Jesus frequently warned us against trying to accumulate wealth here on earth. "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth," He said. Rather, "lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven" (Matthew 6:19-20). In our text above, He even says to sell what we have and give it away. To the rich young ruler, He said: "If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven" (Matthew 19:21).

God's Word cannot contradict itself, however, so this teaching must also be balanced against a man's responsibility to "provide . . . for his own, and specially for those of his own house" (I Timothy 5:Cool. Similarly, "the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children" (II Corinthians 12:14).

We are also encouraged to "give to him that needeth" (Ephesians 4:28) and to sow "bountifully" as "a cheerful giver" (II Corinthians 9:6-7). Such instructions imply that by faithful labor in the vocations God has given us, we shall have the wherewithal to do such things. Ananias and Sapphira were punished, not for retaining part of their possessions for their own needs, but rather, because they lied about it (Acts 5:1-10). Our giving should be done "with simplicity" -- that is, with "singleness" of heart (Romans 12:Cool.

All we have is of the Lord and should be used in ways that honor Him, in accord with His Word and His providential leading. We should provide judiciously for the needs of those dependent on us, but our own personal needs and wants should be kept minimal, so that more can be used in His service and to meet the needs of others.

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« Reply #58 on: February 10, 2006, 02:32:12 PM »

Children In Heaven

“And (David) said, While the child was yet alive, I fasted and wept: for I said, Who can tell whether GOD will be gracious to me, that the child may live? But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me” (II Samuel 12:22,23).

The death of a loved one is always a time of great sorrow, but the death of a beloved child is perhaps the keenest sorrow of all. Nevertheless, for the Christian believer, we “sorrow not, even as others which have no hope” (I Thessalonians 4:13).

Our text verse makes it clear that, when a child dies (even one born of a sinful relationship such as this child of David and Bathsheba), that child goes to be with the Lord in heaven. Jesus said: “Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 19:14).

Heaven is thus a place where there are many “little children.” Their inherited sin-nature never yet had generated acts of willful sin, and their maker is Himself “the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29), so they are safe in Him. Although there are few specific Scriptures on this subject, what we do know, both from the love of God and the word of God, suggests that the souls of all deceased little children are with the Lord in heaven, but also those who died in early childhood (and even before birth) from every time and place since the world began. There they, along with all those who were saved by personal faith in Christ and are now awaiting the resurrection, will receive new bodies when Christ returns to Earth. The old and lame will be young and strong again, and the children will grow to perfect maturity, for all will become “like Him” (I John 3:2). “God shall wipe away all tears” (Revelation 21:4), and all will say: “As for God, His way is perfect” (Psalm 18:30).

« Last Edit: February 10, 2006, 02:35:12 PM by Pastor Roger » Logged

Joh 9:4  I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.
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« Reply #59 on: February 10, 2006, 02:33:19 PM »


Thou Hast Made Me Glad

"For thou, Lord, hast made me glad through thy work: I will triumph in the works of thy hands" (Psalm 92:4).

"It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord, and to sing praises unto thy name, O most High" (Psalm 92:1). So begins this "Song for the Sabbath day" (heading), the psalmist extolling the virtues of praising God both day and night (v.2). The true believer, with a proper understanding of God's majesty, can see, in every situation, His lovingkindness and faithfulness. There is no better way to begin and end the day than to rehearse manifestations of His loving control over each event and circumstance and express confidence in His ability to handle new situations. "O Lord, how great are thy works! and thy thoughts are very deep" (v.5).

Vexation over the seeming prosperity of the enemies of God is understandable, but we must rest in the fact that God will act justly at the proper time, when it best suits His purpose. "The wicked . . . shall be destroyed for ever: But thou, Lord, art most high for evermore. For, lo, thine enemies, O Lord, . . . shall perish; all the workers of iniquity shall be scattered" (vv.7-9).

Conversely, the righteous will ultimately flourish. Whether in this lifetime or in the next, God's justice will prevail. "Those that be planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God" (v.13).

The claim of ultimate victory must not be considered as vague, insufficient, and improbable, as skeptics have always claimed. The reputation of God Himself is on the line. He will not allow His name to be tarnished. He must act "To shew that the Lord is upright: He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him" (v.15). As in our text, we can even now be "glad" and "triumph" in His works, whether we see them in this life or in the life to come. "O Lord, how great are thy works! And thy thoughts are very deep" (v.5).

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Joh 9:4  I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.
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