Spiritual Separation! Psalm 28:3

Text:  “Draw me not away with the wicked, and with the workers of iniquity, which speak peace to their neighbours, but mischief is in their hearts.”    Psalm 28:3.

Good morning, Spiritually separated Christian!  One of the most important, yet most ignored Christian doctrine today is the doctrine of Spiritual Separation -  separation from the world, the flesh, and the Devil, and from all forms of sin, falsehood, and false, erroneous beliefs.  God commands it - yet those who profess to be God’s people are either totally ignorant of His command, or completely reject His explicitly written instruction.

Thus saith the Lord:  “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers; for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness?  And what communion hath light with darkness?  And what concord (agreement) hath Christ with Belial?  Or what part hath he/she that believeth (believes and continually believes) with an infidel (an unbeliever)?…Wherefore come ye out from among them, and be ye SEPARATE, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be My sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.”  (2 Corinthians 6:14-18)

Verse 3.  “Draw me not away with the wicked.  They shall be dragged off to Hell like felons of old drawn on a hurdle to Tyburn (a place of public execution), like logs drawn to the fire, like fagots to the oven.  David fears lest he should be bound up in their bundle, drawn to their doom.”  (C.H. Spurgeon, Treasury of David, page 139)

To illustrate the importance of the doctrine of Spiritual Separation, as commanded in the New Testament inspired writing of Paul’s epistle to the Corinthians above - let me revisit a Bible Lesson I sent out almost ten years ago.  Here it is for your enlightenment:

The Importance of Doctrine - Matthew 16:6-12 (Sent out 29/11/2004)

Text: "If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrines which is according to Godliness...from such withdraw thyself." (1 Timothy 6:3-5)

Good morning, well-taught Christian! Not enough for you to leave all your Christian instruction to the Pastor’s efforts on Sunday mornings - you have the privilege of an open Bible; access to God the Spirit via instant prayers; and the intercessions of Christ Jesus Himself as High Priest and Mediator. Therefore, all you need to be well-taught in the doctrine of God is close at hand and, praise God, you avail yourself of these important privileges.

"Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of truth." (2 Timothy 2:15)

Too many professing the Name of Christ today feel no obligation to either fellowship with the Lord in private prayer, nor take time out to study and learn sound doctrines for themselves. Thus, the Pastor is given all the responsibility of teaching his congregation important Scriptural truths. This should not be, dear friend, there are too many dangers in a one-man-teaching-ministry!  If the Pastor goes astray, all will stray also!

Lethal Leaven: (Ephesians 5:6-7) Leaven in the literal sense is yeast, a substance which, when mixed amongst flour whilst baking bread, causes the dough to rise into a loaf-shaped quantity of bread.

Figuratively speaking, leaven is anything which, when mixed with say a person’s character, modifies or influences the whole nature of that person.

In the Spiritual sense, leaven is influence on belief. The doctrinal practice of the Pharisees and Sadducees of today’s selected Bible reading was likened unto lethal leaven by Christ; leaven which, when mixed with true unadulterated, child-like faith, would permeate the whole doctrinal beliefs of the person, and soon corrupt their faith in God.

It was ‘leaven’ such as this that the evil Balaam sowed among the children of Israel - he couldn’t curse them, but he could corrupt them, and did so to his Eternal peril. (Numbers Chapters 22: to 25)

Lethal Lessons: (Galatians 1:6-10) Heresy is belief contrary to the established Scriptural belief of the Christian Church. There have been many otherwise gifted teachers who, like Sabellius (who introduced the ‘Oneness heresy’ into his congregations in opposition to the orthodoxy of Trinitarian belief), have made shipwreck the faith of many of the unlearned. This type of heretic influence has blighted the faith of Christians since the Church was founded by Christ Jesus, over two thousand years ago. Such ‘leaven’ is Spiritually lethal indeed. If the Bible does not teach it - flee fast from it!

Let these lethal lessons of Church history teach us to safeguard the integrity of vital Bible doctrines. The Word of God must inform every belief we hold, otherwise the doctrine and the practice is not worth having. Canonical Scripture is our only infallible authority to teach and practice the Christian faith. “God’s Word alone is truth!”

Thought: Sound doctrine today keeps heretics at bay tomorrow. (2004)

Today’s Thought: “It were better to be shut up in a pit with serpents that to be compelled to live with liars.”  C.H. Spurgeon.  Come out from among them!


‘Lord, Please Hear Me! - Psalm 28:2

Text:  “Hear the voice of my supplications, when I cry unto Thee, when I lift up my hands towards Thy Holy oracle.”
                                                                                                                     Psalm 28:2.

          “But without faith it is impossible to please Him; for he/she that cometh to God must believe that He is (that He exists!), and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.”
                                                                                                                 Hebrews 11:6.

Good morning, believing prayer-warrior!  It would be a vain exercise indeed for us to spend our time crying out to a Heaven that did not hear us; or to a Being that we did not fully believe exists!  No. We are not like the atheist, or the agnostic.  We have been blessed with God’s gift of true Christian faith, and we shall, by His grace, continue to use that gift of trust to call out to Him in worship, praise, and sincere petitions.  Praise God, He is ALWAYS more than ready to receive our prayers.  Hallelujah!

“For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous (those whom He has made righteous, in Christ Jesus!), and His ears are open unto their prayers; but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.”  (1 Peter 3:12)

But what if the Heavens were as brass, and the Lord refusing to hear us?  What a woeful situation that would be!  This was David’s worst nightmare - and it should be ours too - that for some reason the Lord was not listening to his prayers.

“Behold (look and understand seriously!), the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither is His ear heavy, that it cannot hear; BUT your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you, that He will not hear.  For your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies, your tongue hath muttered perverseness.  None calleth for justice, nor any pleadeth for truth; they trust in vanity, and speak lies; they conceive mischief, and bring forth iniquity.”  (Isaiah 59:1-4)

These are the people whose prayers are NOT heard by the Lord God. Take heed!

“His (God’s) silence is equally full of awe to an eager supplicant.  What a dreadful case should we be in if the Lord should become forever silent to our prayers!”  (C.H. Spurgeon, Treasury of David, page 139)

King Herod, by beheading God’s faithful messenger, John the Baptist, incurred such a Divine silence - and was forever doomed.  “Then he (Herod) questioned with Him (Jesus) in many words; but He answered him NOTHING.”  What a Divine silence!
 
“What do we desire God to say? We want Him to let us know that He hears us; we want to hear Him speak as distinctly to us as we feel that we have spoken to Him.  ’It is said‘, said Rutherford, speaking of the Saviour’s delay in responding to the request of the Syrophoenician woman, ’He answered not a word’, but it is not said, ‘He heard not a word.’ Christ often heareth when He doth not answer - His NOT answering is an answer, and speaks thus - ’Pray on, go on and cry, for the Lord holdeth His door fast bolted,’ not to keep you out, but that you may know, and knock, and it shall be opened.”  (Philip Bennett Power, 1862)

Verse 1.  “…Be not silent to me.  His silence is equally full of awe to an eager suppliant.  What a dreadful case should we be in if the Lord should become forever silent to our prayers!”  (Charles Haddon Spurgeon, Treasury of David, page 139)

Verse 2.  “…When I cry unto Thee.  Serious-minded Christians must take note: it is not a mumbled list of ‘religiously ingrained words’ that the Psalmist is referring to in this verse; perhaps sent up to the Lord God while we are half awake and half asleep.  No.  It is the alert cry of the regenerate soul that God’s ear is ever open to hear.   When you and I get more serious about our prayer-life, we can rest assured that the Lord God will get more serious about hearing and answering our daily petitions. (Dr C.K. McClinton 1947 - ?)

Verse 2.  “…When I lift up my hands toward Thy Holy oracle.  Our hands, in Scripture denote our actions, ‘the working of our hands’.  Thus, we must at all times make certain that what we are engaged in throughout the day is commensurate with the petitions we seek to lift up to the Lord God at night.  If God’s ‘oracle’ is Holy, then it is only open and attentive to those who lift up Holy hands; actions (including words and thoughts!) that are sanctified and acceptable to the Presence of a thrice Holy Lord God of total wrath against all sin. (Dr C.K. McClinton 1947 - ?)

Dictionary Definition: Oracle - (noun) medium or agency of Divine revelation; a response by or on behalf of God; the place where such responses are given; the Jewish sanctuary; the Word of God… (The Chambers Dictionary, page 1139)

When seeking to come before God’s Holy Presence in prayer, we must come to God the Father, through God the Son, Jesus Christ; in the power of God the Holy Spirit - and all and only by the way of the Cross of Christ’s full Atonement Sacrifice at Calvary. We can come no other way.  Therefore, it is a Spiritually healthy practice, to commence our time in prayer to God Almighty with a sincere plea for renewed sanctification, cleansing from all the sins we have committed that day - in word, thought, or deed.  Then the way is clear for us to worship, praise, thank and petition our High and Holy Lord God.  Let us ’…lift up HOLY hands…’ as we lift up our prayers to Him.

Thought:  We cannot sup with Satan and sin - then pray at God’s table of grace!




Psalm 28: The Thorn-Bird’s Cry


The Direction of the Cry Psalm 28:1

Text:  “Unto Thee will I cry, O Lord my Rock; be not silent unto me: lest, if Thou be silent to me, I become like them that go down into the pit.”
                                                                                                                    Psalm 28:1.

Good morning, Christian Thorn-Bird!  Life, and the complexities of life on this earth that you and I live as Spiritually regenerate Christian believers, often causes us to feel and act like the mythical Thorn-Bird of old Celtic legend - our Spiritual wounds, received in the great Battle against the world, the flesh, and the Devil, can often cause us to cry out to God from the deepest depths of our very souls.  If you can relate to this experience, beloved friend, then Psalm 28 is the very prayer to uplift to the Lord today.   

The Myth of the Thorn Bird:

There is an old Celtic legend about a bird, which sings only once in its life. It sings that single song more sweetly than any other creature on the face of this earth. From the moment it leaves its nest, this bird searches for a thorn tree and does not rest until it has found one. Having found the thorn tree the bird sings among the tree’s savage branches and impales itself on the longest, sharpest spine. Then, dying, it rises above its own agony to out-carol the lark and the nightingale. The whole world stills to listen and God in his heaven smiles. The best is accomplished at the cost of the greatest pain, so says the legend. (All Poetry online website)

Verse 1.  “Unto Thee will I cry, O Lord my Rock.  It will be in vain to call to the rocks in the day of judgement, but our Rock attends to our cries.  (C.H. Spurgeon, Treasury of David, page 139)

Pride in the breast of each of us can be a huge hindrance to true prayers to God for deliverance and for His ‘very present help in trouble…’  Profound pain, grief, and cruel oppositions assist us to swallow down all human pride and call urgently upon the Lord for His Divine and ever-given strength and help.

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.  Therefore will not we fear… (Psalm 46:1-2)

“The thorn at the breast of the nightingale was said by the old naturalists to make it sing.  David’s grief made him eloquent in holy Psalmody.”  (C.H. Spurgeon, Treasury of David, page 139)

“It is of utmost importance that we should have a definite object on which to fix our thoughts.  ‘Call upon Me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.’  One looking down upon him, listening to him, feeling for him, preparing to answer him.  Dear reader, in the time of your trouble, do not roam; do not let your thoughts wander as though they were looking for someone on whom to fix.  ‘Unto Thee will I cry.’…Oh!  Happy is that man who feels and knows that when trouble comes he cannot be bewildered and confused by the stroke, no matter how heavy it may be.”  (Philip Bennett Power 1862)

“Unto Thee will I cry, O Lord my Rock; be not silent unto me: lest, if Thou be silent to me, I become like them that go down into the pit.” (Psalm 28:1)

When a regenerate Christian is seeking to really serve Christ Jesus - as a Sunday-School Teacher; as a Pastor; as a Bible-Teacher; as a lay preacher; or an Evangelist tract distributor - that serving Christian SHALL suffer deeply as a consequence.  Fact!

“Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.”                     (2 Timothy 3:12)

There is no escaping this Spiritual, mental, and physical conflict, dear friend; we are engaged in Spiritual warfare!  I recommend The Christian in Complete Armour, by the Puritan, William Gurnall, to all seriously desiring to serve the risen Christ.

Psalm 28, and praying the words of Psalm 28 in times of severe trials, is a ‘thorn bird cry’ I would whole-heartedly recommend as a practice.  I wrote the poem below during such a time of long-term Spiritual, mental, and physical oppression.

UNDEFEATED!

Cry freedom, soul, so sunken, soiled, and sore.
You yearn so, year by year, your yoke to break.
While penal milestones, many, numb you more;
And blight with bitter flints each breath you take.
Like hapless hawk, left hooded, in mid flight;
Wings beating blindly ‘mong life’s thorny copse;
Proud feathered breast oft broken by barbed plight;
Wounds weeping warm, with royal scarlet drops.
Yet, though with weariness your dreary days;
Spent sad, and adding daily deadly weight,
Tempt sore the more your dreams to drink dismay -
Then slump, in slavery, to this knavish State -
Resolve wells up once more to shore the breach,
To fire the coals of courage, furnace hot!
Before time’s tortured tethered end is reached,
The fearless spirit soars, DEFEATED NOT!

Dr C.K. McClinton 1990


Thought: “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes…”  Call upon Him.