112. They led Him away

June 14th, 2015

After they had mocked Him, they took the scarlet robe off Him and put His own garments back on Him, and led Him away to crucify Him.  (Matthew 27:31)

I marvel at those words… “led Him away.” And who were they leading away to crucifixion? God’s King (Psalm 2:6)! God’s Shepherd (Zech. 13:7)! Consider the humility of the Savior. They mocked Him by clothing Him in royal apparel and bowing down to Him. They led God’s shepherd as a lamb to the slaughter (Isaiah 53:7), and He did not open His mouth in protest. They did not want the righteous rule of God’s King, nor did they desire the tender care and guidance of God’s Shepherd. They led away to execution the very One who desired to lead them to God, and they executed the only one who was able to bring righteousness to this groaning world. Yet in the all-wise purposes of God, Christ was not really following men to the cross. No, men could not force Him to give His life, and God had a plan to bring deliverance to this world and defeat the devil with his own weapon of death. God’s perfect Servant (Isaiah 42:1) was following His Father’s will to that hill called Golgotha. The sword of judgment awoke upon God’s Shepherd, and the Lamb of God paid the price of our salvation with His blood. Now that One whom they led away in rejection draws all to Himself through that same death (John 12:32).

Men once said “we have no king but Caesar.” But a day is coming when all will glorify God’s Son when He sits upon the throne of David, and God’s king will reign over all the earth. God’s Shepherd “shall feed His flock like a shepherd: He shall gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young” (Isaiah 40:11). What a day that will be!

111. Sorrows unseen

April 12th, 2015

The day of the Passover came. It was the day when the Passover Lamb “must be killed.” Many viewed the suffering of the lambs that died that day as they remembered how God had graciously and mightily delivered His people out of Egyptian bondage to be a people for Himself, which was symbolized by the redemption of every firstborn by blood (Ex 4:22-23). Many saw a suffering lamb, but few appreciated the suffering Lamb of God who was taking away the sin of the world.

And He bearing His cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha. (John 19:17)

The weight of the cross that day must have been enormous, but far greater than this was the weight of our sin that He bore (1 Pet. 2:24).

And again another scripture saith, They shall look on him whom they pierced. (John 19:37)

As the hard hammer came down on those rough nails, the pain from the piercing of the nails had to be excruciating; but far greater than this were mankind’s hard-hearted words against the loving heart of the Son of God (Luke 23:35).

And when the sixth hour was come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” which is, being interpreted, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Mark 15:33-34)

When all His disciples forsook Him and fled, it must have brought sorrow to the Lord’s heart; but this was nothing to compare with the hours of darkness where He was separated from His God on account of our sin. None could go through that valley of death with Him. None could know the depth of that suffering and separation which He endured.

Lord, kindle within me a renewed appreciation for Your incarnation, humiliation, consecration, sufferings and crucifixion, and yes, Your exaltation in resurrection, and redemption.

110. Three Mountains in Hebrews 12

March 13th, 2015

I thought I would share with you my contemplation of three mountains in Hebrews 12:18-24.

In this passage, we note two mountains representing concepts of tremendous significance: Mount Sinai, and Mount Zion. Mount Sinai represents law and the old covenant. Mount Zion represents grace through a new and better covenant.

You will remember the experience of the children of Israel when they first received the law at the foot of Mount Sinai. Moses went up into the fiery mountain and received the law and the two tablets of stone from God. When he came back down from the mountain, the people were already breaking the very commandments they had just promised to keep, resulting in fearful judgment (Exodus 24; 32). With the intercession of Moses, the nation was spared (Ex. 32:11-14).

But where is Mount Zion, and what happened there? In the Old Testament, the term “Zion” is linked with Jerusalem, the city of David. Many times it is linked with victory, glory, and divine presence and favor. Hebrews 12:22, the term Mount Zion symbolizes the location of “the heavenly Jerusalem.” This is the place God has promised to bless. This is the place to which God’s Lamb will return, and this is the place where the King of kings will reign in all His glory in a future day. The Hebrew writer links it with the church’s position of grace, in contrast to Mt. Sinai’s law.

The contrast in Hebrews 12 is clear, and the physical contrast brings out some spiritual differences between law and grace. Let’s consider them briefly.

At Mount Sinai, we read “Moses exceedingly feared.” It was a place of dread, a fearful place. There was an all-consuming fire, the symbol of the awesome holiness of the God of the universe, a God who must judge sin. A whirlwind and violent earthquake shook the mountain, showing the tremendous power of the unapproachable, unseen God.  A holy God must have holy requirements: thus, at Sinai, duty was demanded. The law brought fear, because it displayed a holy God who required absolute holiness in His people, a holiness which they could not live up to. The character of God was in stark contrast to a sinful people. Lightning flashed, and thunder rolled as God spoke from the mount. The mountain was shrouded in darkness: God was hidden from human view, and death was declared with the blast of a trumpet for any man or beast that would even touch the mountain where God came to meet with one man, Moses. When God commenced to speak to the people, they could not bear to hear the words of such a holy God and cried to Moses for him to speak to God on their behalf.

Come now to Mount Zion, the mountain of grace. What a contrast! If at Mt. Sinai, there was fear and dread, at Mt. Zion we find peace, for Jerusalem means city/foundation/possession of peace. “We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom 8:1). If Sinai brought darkness, exposing the sin of the people, and obscuring God from mankind, at Mount Zion we find light, and access to the very throne room of God (Rev. 21:23). “Now are ye light in the Lord” (Eph 5:8). “We have boldness and access with confidence” (Eph 3:12). If Sinai displayed the all-consuming fire of God’s holiness and the warning of certain death, Mount Zion displays the all-sufficient cleansing of the water of the Word and the blood of God’s Lamb. If Sinai shook with the power of an omnipotent God as if it could fall at any moment under the Almighty, Zion stands in an unshakable, eternal kingdom. If at Sinai the people were bound by duty to keep the whole law, or die, at Zion there is rest in the all-sufficiency of the work of Christ to cleanse from all sin, bringing eternal life to the thirsty soul (Rev. 21:4). Finally, if at Mount Sinai the people could not bear to hear the words of God, at Mount Zion, the very Word of God dwells with men (Rev 21:3). He spoke and said, “I will come again, and receive you unto Myself.” He speaks the words of eternal life. To receive His word is to receive life, and in place of a whirlwind of divine fury, we receive, within, the Spirit of God in all of His transforming power.

Two mountains. Two stark contrasts. “But,” you say, “you spoke of three mountains.” And that I did. For without the third mountain, we would have no way of getting from Mount Sinai to Mount Zion. The valley is too deep. The passage is impossible. We need Mount Calvary.

Was Calvary truly a mountain? Christ was crucified outside of Jerusalem, and we have already considered Jerusalem as being located on Mount Zion, so I think the term is appropriate. It is the mountain of divine provision and substitution, where Abraham gave up his only son to God and God provided a substitute for his Isaac (Genesis 22:2). It is the mountain of divine sacrifice, where David offered to God a sacrifice to put away the plague of sin (2 Chronicles 3:1). It is the mountain of the divine presence, where Solomon built a sanctuary in which the LORD dwelt (2 Chronicles 3:1).  (More on that here.)

Mount Calvary takes us from Mount Sinai to Mount Zion. It is the bridge between sinful mankind and a holy God. At Mount Calvary we find the answer to man’s problem that he has had ever since Adam’s fall: the problem of his sin.

Calvary’s dread purchased our peace (Luke 22:44). Calvary’s fire purchased our healing (Lam 1:13; John 19:28; Isaiah 53:5-6). Calvary’s dark separation purchased our union to God, bringing us into His marvelous light (Psalm 22:1-2; Mark 15:33-34; 1 Peter 2:9). At Christ’s death, the earth shook and the rocks were split (Matt 27:51) as the Author of Life went into death to take our place and offer us life. Calvary’s duty purchased our deliverance from the bondage of sin and provided eternal rest (John 19:30; Titus 3:5; Heb 4:10). We hear unforgettable words from Mount Calvary: words of distance–“My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?”– and words of grace, “Father, forgive them.” Yes, Mount Calvary transports us from Mount Sinai to Mount Zion. This Mediator had the power to deliver us from judgment (Heb 12:24). What grace! What love!

The character of our God has not changed. He is still a consuming fire (Heb 12:29). But thank God, by His infinite grace the veil separating us from God was rent at the cross. We can now enter into a relationship with Him in which we are enabled to serve Him acceptably, not now out of duty, but out of devotion as our hearts overflow in love to the Savior who did so much for us.

Have you arrived at Mount Zion? Have you been to Mount Calvary? Sinai’s terror is the lot of all those who reject the Savior and refuse to hear His voice. Mount Zion’s rest is the bliss of all those who bow to Him as Lord and accept Him as their own Savior. “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation?” (Hebrews 2:3).

It’s not too late to begin a reading plan

January 10th, 2015

“It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” –Matthew 4:4

The Henry Groves Bible in a year chronological reading plan was suggested to me. I took the suggestion. Would you like to as well?

You can mark off your progress here. If you want daily reminders, you can sign up with the Facebook group.

 

109. My Shepherd

December 6th, 2014

My Shepherd!
Blessed thought!
By Thee I’m bought.
By Thee I’m sought and found;
Upon strong shoulders brought to heavenly ground.
My Shepherd!

My Shepherd!
Blessed hands!
That broke sin’s bands.
They brought Thy plans to birth
And rule and tend the ends of all the earth!
My Shepherd!

My Shepherd!
Blessed feet!
Thy voice most sweet!
My soul completely freed.
Then call my feet to follow where You lead,
My Shepherd!

My Shepherd!
Blessed head!
Once stained with red;
Once bowed to dread death’s wound.
Now risen from the dead; now glory crowned!
My Shepherd!

 

A meditation on Genesis 1, Psalm 22, Psalm 23, Psalm 145, Luke 15, and John 10.
Penned by Steve Lamb

All things to me

September 20th, 2014

I was enjoying these thoughts again from June 24, 2012 and thought I would share.

***

The more we find out about ourselves and others, the more we will see how imperfect and flawed we are. The more we find out about Christ, the more we will appreciate His perfection and sufficiency.

Ps. 62:6 – He is all my SALVATION

He only is my rock and my salvation: he is my defence; I shall not be moved.

Ps. 87:7 – He is all my SATISFACTION

Then those who sing as well as those who play the flutes shall say, “All my springs of joy are in you.”  (NASB)

Phil. 4:13 – He is all my STRENGTH

I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

Phil. 4:19 – He is all my SUPPLY

But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

2Cor. 9:8 – He is all my SUFFICIENCY

And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:

107. Poem about Waiting on God

July 20th, 2014

Waiting on Him

Rachel E. Kundert

To Thee, O Lord we raise our eyes
With worries, fears, an anxious mind;
With troubled soul and tearful cries
Our anxious heart doth now implore,
“O Lord, What wait I for?”
(Psalm 39:7)

When He no answer doth supply,
Though nights of darkness sleepless be,
Though prayer and plea we raise on high,
Yet trembling still His Word we see:
“Wait,” says He, “wait on Me.”
(Psalm 27:14)

Our God dwells in eternity;
A thousand years to Him – a day.
The number of the stars knows He,
And thus we say, though daylight dim,
“Wait patiently for Him.”
(Is. 57:15, 2 Pet. 3:8, Psalm 37:7)

For God has promised good to all
Who wait for Him and seek His face.
With strength and love He hears our call.
His time is right, He’ll not be late.
On God alone we wait.
(Lam. 3:25, Psalm 62:5)

God need not tell wherefore and why,
E’en if we leave this life behind.
He’s good and faithful, hears each sigh.
We trust Him still with heart outpoured:
“Wait, I say, on the Lord.”
(Psalm 27:14)

The pebble that endures the storm,
Yields beauty not seen heretofore.
From ragged roughness – graceful form,
And from the depths comes joyous song.
Wait on the LORD: be strong.
(Psalm 27:14, Jos.1:7)

Our Great High Priest can sympathize,
For He went through the same, nay, more,
Despised, rejected, crucified.
We humbly bow before Him, awed.
My soul waits upon God.
(2 Cor. 12:9, Heb. 2:18 4:15, Psalm 62:1)