Psalm 28: The Thorn-Bird’s Cry

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.


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.

The ‘Faint’ Must Wait - Psalm 27:13-14

Text:  “He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might He increaseth strength.  Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall; but they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”
Isaiah 40:29-31.

Good morning, Christian ready to faint!  Do you feel that you are just about to faint this morning?  Do you, too often,  consider yourself useless in the service of King Jesus?  Are you ready to crawl into some dark corner and give up any semblance of Christian witness and testimony today?  Well, if you are I have something to say to your soul.  Join the club!  I too can get into this moribund state far too often, and so can many other serving Christians.  It is said that Charles Haddon Spurgeon, ’the prince of preachers’, had a continual struggle with personal depression all of his life!  Wait, therefore, upon the Lord right away.  He is waiting to hear your cry and mine, and will increase our flagging strength.  Hallelujah!  We have God’s own Word on this matter.

Verse 13.  “I had fainted…”  If the Scripture verse had ended with this phrase, perhaps we could all immediately relate to what has been said. 

Faint?  This morning, on this new Lord’s Day, I feel like I am about as much use to the Lord as a wet piece of cardboard; I feel uninspired; unused of the Lord; unable to shake off what seems to be a dark Spiritual depression which is threatening to engulf my entire being and pull me down into some very dark place of utter despair. 

Had the Scripture verse ended with ‘I had fainted…’, I believe I could almost say, ‘Amen’, and crawl away and die.  But the Scripture does not end there, praise God it continues, and this Holy continuation brings you and me new and much needed hope.

Here is what David Clarkson had to say on this subject: “You may well doubt that all the waters of the ocean cannot fill a spoon as that Divine fullness cannot be enough to you, if you should have nothing left in this world.  One drop of Divine sweetness is enough to make one in the very agony of the cruelest death to cry out with joy. ‘The bitterness of death is past.’  His goodness makes Him willing to do.  His goodness sets His mighty power a-work for His suffering saints.”  (David Clarkson 1622-1686)

In the Christian life - the darkest hour often  comes just before a bright new dawn; the blasting of Hell, before the blessing of the Lord God.  Wait for it!

Verse 13.  “I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord.  Many would faint away and want to die, like Elijah under that juniper tree (1 Kings 19:1-8).  However, faith, and true belief in Christ Jesus, waits on with expectancy for a fresh filling of ‘…the goodness of the Lord’.  The Lord never fails us; His mercy endures forever; we are graven on the very palms of His nail-pierced hands.

Verse 13.  “…In the land of the living.”  Nor is this promise of Divine help and goodness merely pledged to us for the time of our glorification, after we die and go to be in the very Presence of the Living Lord God.  No.  This pledge of Divine goodness to us is promised to us while we are yet ‘…in the land of the living.’!  In the here and now life that we live; today, for you and for me - at the very point of our present need.  Wow!  Hallelujah!  The very thought of this Spiritual fact from God’s Word, begins to lift my unworthy and depressed soul.  What a Saviour we serve in Christ Jesus!  Glory to the One Who always comes to faithfully deliver us from our depressions and fears!

“…they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)

However, note also that this great Divine pledge is conditional to those who are prepared to ‘wait on the Lord’ - not merely sitting on our hands, but waiting, as a waiter waits upon tables at a restaurant; serving the Lord God as a waiter serves diners.  This promise of Divine help is not for the sluggard, nor the luke-warm professing Christian.  This promise is exclusively for those who WAIT in service to Christ Jesus.

Verse 14.  “Wait on the Lord.  Wait at His door with prayer; wait at His foot with humility; wait at His table with service; wait at His window with expectancy.”  (Charles H. Spurgeon, Treasury of David, page 138)

Let us all who are weary this day, find refreshment in this poem by Thomas Ken, 1637-1710)

Stand but your ground, your ghostly foes will fly;
Hell trembles at a Heaven-directed eye;
Choose rather to defend that to assail;
Self-confidence will in the conflict fail:
When you are challenged, you may dangers meet;
True courage is a fixed, not sudden heat;
Is always humble, lives in self-distrust;
And will itself into no danger thrust.
Devote yourself to God, and you will find
God fights the battles of a will resigned.
Love Jesus!  Love will no base fear endure;
Love Jesus! And of conquest rest secure.

Thought: Christian: When tempted to faint - let faith cause you, on God, to wait!

‘Deliver me not!’ - Psalm 27:12

Text:  “Deliver me not over unto the will of mine enemies; for false witnesses are risen against up against me, and such as breathe out cruelty.”
     Psalm 27:12.

          “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil; for Thine is the Kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever.  Amen.”
  Matthew 6:13.

Good morning, ever-delivered Christian!  You and I who are Spiritual children of the Most High Lord God, Jehovah, through the Cross of Christ Jesus, our Saviour and our Lord, are thrice delivered souls; completely delivered from the power and the plague of all evil.  Hallelujah!  What a thrill it is to know that we have been fully delivered!

“But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead; Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver; in Whom we trust that He will yet deliver us.”  (2 Corinthians 1:10)

This one verse of Holy Scripture, God’s Word, clearly promises us past, present, and future deliverance from death and all evil.  Wow!  Now, that is an exciting reality!

When the enemies of our souls - Spiritual and temporal - afflict us and cause us to become discouraged, we must always seek God’s face; feed upon God’s Word; and cry out to Him as our loving Father and our Saviour King.  He will always deliver us.

“Fear thou not; for I am with thee; be not dismayed; for I am thy God; I will strengthen thee, yea, I will help thee, yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of My righteousness.  Behold (look!), all they that be incensed against thee shall be ashamed and confounded; they shall be as nothing; and they that strive with thee shall perish.  Thou shalt seek them, and shalt not find them, even them that contended with thee; they that war against thee shall be as nothing, and as a thing of nought.  For I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not, I will help thee.”      (Isaiah 41:10-13)

Vicious slander and malicious gossip are the preferred weapons of anti-Christian enemies!  Cowards, prefer to strike from their dark and morbid hiding places.

Verse 12.  “For false witnesses are risen up against me.  Slander is an old-fashioned weapon out of the armoury of Hell and is still in plentiful use; and no matter how holy a man may be, there will be some who will defame him.  It is their vital breath to hate the good.”  (C.H. Spurgeon, Treasury of David, page 138)

The true Christian’s greatest ‘fault’, his/her most obvious ‘weakness’, is the fact that we preach and teach perfect Holiness - yet cannot attain that same standard in our lives.  The world around us watch our every move; measure our every word; monitor our every motive - and, because we are mere sinners saved by God’s grace, we will always fall short of the Holy Standard of perfection in Christ Jesus that we preach/teach.  The world homes in on this observable fact and uses our short-comings as a whip to flay us continuously.   I will never forget the day in my life that one such ‘worldly watcher’ flew at me with the accusation, ‘You’re some Christian!’; after I had killed a fly that was continually pestering me.  He was using my swatting of that fly to justify the unreasonable hatred he had for me as a Christian.

Verse 12. “Deliver me not over unto the will of mine enemies…”  With the above example in mind, therefore, we can see how plaintive the cry of David is when he asks the Lord not to deliver him over unto the will of such enemies.  Our enemies only need the excuse to cause us harm, and from such enemies we Christians need continual Divine deliverance, if we are to continue to serve the risen Lord Jesus Christ.

Verse 12.  “…For false witnesses are risen up against me, and such as breathe out cruelty.  Take courage, fainting Christians: you are encompassed with a great cloud of witnesses! The race that you are running has been run by millions before; you think that no one ever had such trials as yourself—but every step that you are journeying has been safely walked by others; the valley of the shadow of death has been securely passed by a multitude of trembling, doubting ones like yourself. They had their fears and anxieties, like you—but they were not cast away. The world, the flesh and the devil can never overwhelm the weakest person who will set their face towards God. These millions journeyed on in bitterness and tears like your own, and yet not one perished—they all reached their eternal home.  (J.C. Ryle 1816 -1900)

Enemies: The principal fight of the Christian is with the world, the flesh, and the devil.  These are his never-dying foes.  These are the three chief enemies against whom he must wage war.  Unless he gets the victory over these three, all other victories are useless and vain.  If he had a nature like an angel, and was not a fallen creature, the warfare would not be so essential.  But with a corrupt heart, a busy devil, and an ensnaring world, he must either “fight” or be lost. He must fight the flesh.  Even after conversion he carries within him a nature prone to evil, and a heart weak and unstable as water.  To keep that heart from going astray, there is need of a daily struggle and a daily wrestling in prayer.”  (J.C. Ryle 1816 -1900)

You and I as 21st Century Christians would do well to look back into history, to the testimonies of Spiritual giants like Ryle and Spurgeon, and begin to do fierce battle with the enemies of Christ and our Christian souls. 

Thought: Today is the day, harden not your hearts, up, put the Battle in order against the enemies of our Christian souls!  Victory is ours - in Christ Jesus.

‘Plain Path’ Teaching - Psalm 27:11

Text:  “Teach me Thy way, O Lord, and lead me in a plain path, because of mine enemies.”
      Psalm 27:11.

          “Enter ye in at the strait gate; for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which shall go in thereat; because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”

 -  -          Matthew 7:13-14.

Good morning, ‘Plain Path’ Christian!  Your life is led along a straight line due to your total dependence on the only Road Map the Lord God has given us, ’His people’, to follow.  The path of true Christian faith is both straight and strait; it is a path that leads in a straight line from A to B; and a path that is very narrow, and hard, indeed.

Dictionary Definition: Strait: (Noun) narrow part, place, or passage, especially (often in plural) by water, (usually in plural) difficulty, distress, hardship. (Adjective) close, narrow, strict, rigorous; hard-pressed, needy; sparing in giving; tight…  (The Chambers Dictionary, page 1632)

The Lord Jesus only teaches, and exclusively recognises ‘the strait gate’ to Eternal life in Heaven.  He then makes a sobering statement, one of which we should all take careful note: “…And FEW there be that find it.”  (Matthew 7:14)  Selah: now think on this!

“Not every one that saith unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the Kingdom of Heaven; but he/she that doeth the will of My Father which is in Heaven.  Many will say to Me in that day (the day of Christ’s judgement), Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy Name?  And in Thy Name have cast out devils?  And in Thy Name done many wonderful works?  And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you; depart from Me, ye that work iniquity.”  (Matthew 7:21-23)

Try teaching this ’plain path’ teaching to the ’Name it and claim it, brigade’, and they will want to string us up to the nearest telegraph pole!  The teaching is too STRAIT!  The path is too straight!  The teaching is too plain and to the point!

“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears (to hear funny stories); and they shall turn away their ears from the truth (plain path teaching), and shall be turned into fables (tellers of foolish stories).”  (2 Timothy 4:3-4)

Verse 11. Teach me Thy way, O Lord…”  Jesus teaches us ‘Ye must be born again…’; we must be Spiritually regenerated by God the Holy Spirit; we must be granted God’s gifts of faith and repentance from our sins; we must confess Christ as both Saviour and Lord; we must learn more and more about Him and seek to live our lives as He would have us live them - in Christlikeness, to the best of our too often limited abilities.  This is Christ’s way, and it is the only way of Salvation, by grace through faith in His Cross Sacrifice, that He teaches and allows.  (John 3:3-8) (Ephesians 2:8-10) (1 John 1:6-10)

When we seek to earnestly and faithfully teach Christ’s ‘plain path’ teaching - we are immediately confronted by what I call ‘religious enemies’; charlatans, ‘wolves in sheep’s clothing’.  We will have the world of unbelief; the Devil; as well as our own too fallible flesh to contend with also; but ‘religious enemies’ are quick to condemn us.

“These things have I spoken unto you (Christ’s disciples), that in Me ye might have peace.  In the world ye SHALL have tribulation; but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”  (John 16:33)

The Lord God protects and takes care of those who seek to learn His way and teach it.

Verse 11.  “Lead me in a plain path, because of mine enemies.  If a man travelling on the King’s highway be robbed between sun and sun, satisfaction (compensation) is recoverable upon the country where the robbery was made; but if he takes his journey in the night, being in an unseasonable time, it is at his own peril, he must take what falls.  So, if a man keep in God’s ways, he shall be sure of God’s protection; but if he stray out of them (God’s way), he exposes himself to danger.”  (Robert Skinner -1670)

Verse 11.  “…Because of mine enemies.  It is wonderful to observe how honest simplicity baffles and outwit’s the craftiness of wickedness.  Truth is wisdom.  ‘Honesty is the best policy.’”  (C.H. Spurgeon, Treasury of David, page 138)

“Believers condemn those by their lives who condemn them by their lips.  Christian, if you dwell in the open tent of licentiousness, the wicked shall not walk backward, like modest Shem and Japheth, to cover your shame; but they will walk forward like cursed Ham, to publish it.  Thus they make use of your weakness as a plea for their wickedness.  Men are merciless in their censures of Christians; they have no sympathy for their infirmity.  While a saint is a dove in the eyes of God, he is only a raven in the estimation of sinners.”  (William Secker 1660)

Thought:  ‘Plain path’ teaching, seeks to maintain the full Authority of the written Word of God (KJV) and to ‘tell it like it is’ at all times, ‘warts ‘n’ all’.  We are sinners, and shall always fall short of Christ’s perfect Holiness.  But we are sinners saved by God’s Sovereign grace - and it is God’s Salvation message we must therefore proclaim.  ‘This is the way, walk ye in it…!’  (Isaiah 30:21)

Graven, on the Palms of His Hands! - Psalm 27:10

Text:  “Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb?  Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee.  Behold (look!), I have graven thee (the Father’s elect) upon the palms of My hands; thy walls (defences) are continually before Me (Christ Jesus).”

Isaiah 49:15-16.

Good morning, palm-engraved Christian!  You and I are only true Spiritually regenerate Christian believers because Christ Jesus bore our vile sins away by His one time and victorious Sacrifice on Calvary’s cruel Cross.  When the Roman nails pierced Christ’s hands to the Cross, you and I were ’graven’ (etched, engraved) into the hands of our Redeemer Lord and King - Jesus, the risen Christ.  Hallelujah!  We are Eternally saved!

“All that the Father giveth Me shall come unto Me; and him/her that cometh to Me, I will in no wise cast out.”  (John 6:37)

“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give unto them Eternal life (not temporary!); and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand.”  (John 10:27-28)

Verse 10.  “When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up.  These dear relations will be the last to desert me, but if the milk of human kindness should dry up even from their breasts, there is a Father Who never forgets.”  (C.H. Spurgeon, Treasury of David, page 137)

Securely graven into the hands of Christ Jesus, the Son of God, we are Eternally secure!

Verse 10.  “Then the Lord will take me up.  Those are His love, His wisdom, His power, His Eternity, and all in His nature.  To which four, add His promise, and you have the fullness of the assurance that can be desired.”  (Robert Sanderson 1587-1662)

I wonder, beloved reader, have YOU ever suffered even a tiny cut to one of your hands, to one of your fingers?  Of course you have!  I have had many such small cuts, bruises and grazes over my 67 years upon this old earth.

Now, using your ‘sanctified imagination’, envisage the difficulty even a tiny cut to our hands/fingers causes us.  We reach out to lift something, and we open the small cut in our fingers - and the tiniest wound smarts and causes us to winch with minor pain.  We put our hands into water, and immediately we are reminded that we have a cut or a graze in that appendage.  In other words, we are constantly reminded of the cut, and the manner in which we injured ourselves.  Such injuries are a constant memory-jerking experience.

Now, come with me into the Heavenly Realms for a moment, and think of the risen Christ Jesus, and the terrible wounds He received in His tender hands, that day at Calvary.  Nailed clean through His flesh and into the wood of that cruel Cross!

“As many were astonished at Thee; His visage was marred (scarred and disfigured) more than any man, and His form (His entire human body) more than the sons of men: so shall He sprinkle (with His precious Blood) many nations; the kings shall shut their mouths at Him; for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider.”  (Isaiah 52:14-15)

The disciple, Thomas, doubted the resurrection of Christ until the Lord appeared unto him and showed him His terrible wounds inflicted upon the Cross at Calvary.  Thomas had stated, ‘…Except I shall SEE in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into His side, I will not believe.’       (John 20:25)

But after the risen Lord Jesus again appeared unto the disciples, and said to Thomas, ‘…Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into My side; and be not faithless, but believing.’  (John 20:27)

“And Thomas answered and said unto Him, My Lord and my God.”  (John 20:28)

The Lord Jesus has the nail prints and the scars of His Crucifixion in Heaven today!  His wounds are a visible witness and testimony of His total Victory for us.

“But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed (from all our sins).”  (Isaiah 53:5)

“Behold (look!), I have graven thee (the Father’s elect) upon the palms of My hands; thy walls (defences) are continually before Me (Christ Jesus).  (Isaiah 49:15-16)

“…thy walls (defences) are continually before Me”   You and I are ‘graven’, cut into Christ’s Almighty and all-compassionate; and all-gracious hands.  Therefore, He is constantly reminded of our needs and our welfare, and constantly watches over us with His protective care.  We are continually in His thoughts and granted His love.

Thought:  Even IF human fathers and mothers forsake their Christian children - the Lord God will never, and can never forget us, and shall one day ‘take us up’ to be with Him in His Holy Heaven.  Keep right on trusting in Him, saved one.

When God Hides His Face - Psalm 27:9

Text:  “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 59:2-4.

Good morning, constantly confounded Christian!  What has you and I in a constantly confounded state?  What circumstance, or event, or trend in civilized society today would drag God’s genuine people into a state of being constantly confounded and annoyed?  Furthermore, IF - as genuine Christians - we are NOT in this constantly irritated and confounded state - perhaps we should make doubly sure that we are, in fact, Spiritually reborn children of the Living Lord God!  Take heed, Christian!

Confounded:  To be confounded, basically, is to be perplexed, to be astonished; to be deeply annoyed and irritated by some event or trend that is taking place which shocks us to the core, and leaves us wondering how such an event, trend, phenomenon could ever have happened, or continues to manifest itself within our society or territorial sphere of social/religious influence.

Thus, when Bible-believing, Spiritually regenerate, Christians witness the fundamental principles and practices of true Bible-based Christianity being broken down, ignored, or totally compromised by those in Christian society responsible for their maintenance - we become first amazed (confounded) and then deeply irritated.  When such trends of unbelief are seen to, not only persist, but to be promoted by religious leaders - then we become really angry.  Praise God for Christians who are angry against sin!

“Be ye angry, and sin not…”  (Ephesians 4:26)  I have been told in recent times by a fellow professing Christian that I am ’an angry man’; and after praying and assessing myself afresh, you know, that person is quite right. Increasingly, I am becoming quite an ’angry man’; but not perhaps in the same spirit that the accusation was delivered.

The Scripture above from Paul’s epistle to the Ephesians exhorts us to ’Be ye angry, and sin not…’; which seems like a Biblical paradox to my mind; for how can we ’…be angry…’ yet ’…sin not…’?  Many in the universal Christian church today believe, erroneously, that it is ALWAYS a sin to be ’angry’.  What nonsense!  The Lord would not exhort us to ’…be angry…’ if merely being angry was a sin! Our Holy Lord God will not encourage us to commit sin, nor tempt us to sin, for He is Holy.  Fact.

I maintain openly today that it is NOT a sin to be angry IF the Christian is being ’angry’ at evil; personal and societal sin; speaking lies; speaking and practicing perverseness; failing to promote and practice justice; not speaking God’s revealed truth and preaching the Gospel clearly; trusting in human vanity, office, ’men-pleasing’, and bribery; conceiving mischief by making laws contrary to Bible-principles and Christian morality; ruling a nation unfairly on behalf of any given privileged class. 

All the above listed ‘iniquities’ separate us from the face of our true and Holy Lord God of wrath against sin; against unChristlikeness; against perversion and corruption - and, as Spiritually regenerate Christians, we MUST get angry when our Christian societies are practicing all this sin; angry enough to pray to God for judgement upon such sin, and angry enough to speak out against it - just like I am doing right now!

Verse 9.  “Hide not Thy face far from me…”  The Holy Lord God will, in fact must, hide His face from us, even true Christians, when we are engaged in personal or social sin.  Our Bible text for this morning states this fact of God’s nature most clearly!

“But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you, that He will not hear.”  (Isaiah 59:2) 

Sin separates us from God.  God is angry at the state of the professing Christian church worldwide today in this increasingly apostate, compromising, 21st Century!  If the Lord God is angry at the state of His professing church, and we are called to be Christ-like - we too must be angry at the sinful, lazy, too-well-fed; compromising apostates responsible for this backsliding!  We are merely being angry - but we do not let our righteous anger cause us to sin.  We do not try to work this ungodliness out of the church by use of the arm of our foolish flesh.  Thus, we ARE angry, but we sin not.

Verse 9.  “…Put not Thy servant away in anger.  If the Living Lord God were to deal with us without grace, we would ALL be consumed in an instant because of our sins.

Verse 9.  “…Thou hast been my help, leave me not.  If the Lord were to leave us, as He left the sin-blind Samson, we would have no help to withstand the current apostasy sweeping the Christian church worldwide today.  But with His help, we must speak out the truth of His Word - to fail to take such a stand is to join and embrace the apostasy.

Verse 9.  “…Neither forsake me, O God of my Salvation.  True born again Christians cannot lose their Salvation - for it was never theirs to lose in the first place. ‘Salvation is of the Lord!’  (Jonah 2:9)  Salvation is ‘…the gift of God, not of works…’; the Lord has promised ‘I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.’  (Hebrews 13:5-6)

Thought:  The Lord will only hide His face from us, if we are trying to hide our sins from Him.  Let us sanctify ourselves afresh, while it is still the day of God’s Sovereign grace?  (1 John 1:6-10)

Coveting God’s Presence? - Psalm 27:7-8

Text:  “Come unto Me (Christ Jesus), all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

 Matthew 11:28.

Good morning, legitimately covetous Christian!  Knowing well the gravity of the Tenth Commandment, forbidding us to ‘covet’ things belonging to others - how can we, Spiritually regenerate Christians, legitimately practice coveting? Read on, beloved friend in Christ, and I will teach you a legitimate, God-honouring method of coveting.

“Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.”  (Exodus 20:17)

Dictionary Definition - Covet:  (verb transitive) to desire or wish for eagerly; to wish for (something belonging to another)…(adjective) Covetous: inordinately desirous; avaricious (greedy for).  (The Chambers Dictionary, page 377)

So, with the above dictionary definition clearly established, and the Tenth Commandment of God to the fore of our Christian minds - let us ask ourselves the question: ‘Is it legitimate, in obedience to the Lord God, to ever be covetous?’  I believe it is, and I will now reveal from God’s Word how we can legitimately covet.

True, legitimate coveting, for the sincere Christian, is when our Spiritually regenerate, ‘born again’ hearts are earnestly desiring, eagerly lusting, for the Presence of the Living Lord God Who has saved us; Who has loved us with an everlasting love; and in time sent His only begotten Son, Christ Jesus, to suffer and die on a cruel cross for us, to bear away our sins and redeem us with His precious and sinless Blood.  Our coveting is, therefore, totally legitimate when we are coveting more of the Presence and fellowship of the Lord God Almighty.  Praise His Holy Name!  We love you, Lord!

“As the hart panteth after the water brooks (covets), so panteth my soul after Thee, O God.  My soul thirsteth (covets and continues to covet, lusts, and continues to lust) for God, for the Living God; when shall I come and appear before God?”  (Psalm 42:1-2)

“If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth; but if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the Blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth (cleanses and continues to cleanse) us from all sin.”  (1 John 1:6-7)

It clearly follows then, beloved in Christ, that IF we have true fellowship with God, and ‘covet His Presence’ continually - God, being a Holy Lord God of wrath against all sin, cannot allow us into His Holy Presence, unless we are progressively sanctified by confession of personal sin and a ‘…washing by the water of the Word…’ of God.

Only progressively sanctified sinners can come near the Presence of God without fear of being consumed by the fire of His Absolute Holiness.  (1 Peter 1:15-16)

“Wherefore we receiving a Kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: for our God is a consuming fire.”  (Hebrews 12:28-29)

Verse 7.  “Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice: have mercy also upon me, and answer me.  The first prayer of all those seeking close fellowship with God, who are coveting to be permitted into God’s Presence, should be a prayer of true repentance from sin; a plea to be cleansed afresh from all known and unknown personal sins.  To covet God’s Presence and fellowship with a sin-stained heart, is to seek the truly and Spiritually impossible.  God’s Holiness, and our sin just cannot mingle.  Be honest!

“Behold (look!) the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither 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.”  (Isaiah 59:1-2)

Verse 8.  “When Thou (God) saidst, Seek ye My face; my heart said unto Thee, Thy face, Lord, will I seek.  Oh, for more of this Holy readiness!  Would to God, that we were more plastic to the Divine hand, more sensitive of the touch of God’s Spirit.”  (C.H. Spurgeon, Treasury of David, page 137)

God is willing to be known:  He is willing to open and discover Himself; God delights not to hide Himself.  God stands not upon state, as some emperors do that think their presence diminisheth respect.  God is no such God, but He may be searched into.  Man, if any weakness be discovered, we can soon search into the depth of his excellency; but with God it is clean otherwise.  The more we know of Him, the more we shall admire Him.  I desire to be made known and lay open myself to you.  As if God were a God that delighted to hide Himself.  No; the fault is altogether in us.  Seek ye My face.  He desires to reveal Himself.”  (Richard Sibbes 1577-1635)

Verse 8. “When Thou saidest, Seek ye My face; my heart said unto Thee, Thy face, Lord, will I seek.’”  When we are listening for the Voice of God, we will always be drawn into His Presence in regenerate obedience to our First Love.  (Dr C.K. McClinton 1947 - ?)

Thought:  The Lord desires us to covet His Presence more and more each day; and to enjoy the bliss and peace of His constant fellowship.  (James 4:8-10)

The Best Shelter in the Worst Dangers! - Psalm 27:5-6

Text:  “For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion: in the secret of His tabernacle shall He hide me; He shall set me up upon a Rock.”
      Psalm 27:5.

Good morning, well-fortified Christian!  Any real Christian, any truly repentant and Spiritually regenerated soul, will have much ‘trouble’ in this life here on fallen earth - FACT.  If the true Christian, as defined above, is to be completely certain of anything in his or her daily life, it is this fact - in this world we shall endure sore ‘troubles’.  But, praise the Lord, He has promised all such genuine Christian souls that He will be right there with us in such troubles, and bring us safely through them to His glory. 

“Man that is born of woman is of few days, and full of trouble.”  (Job 14:1)

“We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.  So then death worketh in us, but life in you.”  (2 Corinthians 4:8-12)

With this Scriptural principle in mind therefore, we can clearly make this, perhaps, shocking statement: If you are professing to be a Spiritually regenerate Christian in this day of increased apostasy and unbelief and are NOT suffering trouble for doing so, there is something seriously wrong with your profession of faith! 

No trouble means no true possession of Eternal Salvation in Christ Jesus!  Selah.

“Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove (test) your own selves.  Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates? (rejected of God)”  (2 Corinthians 13:5)

All around the world today, in this year of 2014, true Christians are being sorely persecuted; even in this Western hemisphere where Christianity has been established for centuries.  Only the degrees of persecution and trouble vary here in the West.

“Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you; and ye shall be hated of all nations for My Names sake.”  (Matthew 24:9)

Pakistan. Vietnam. China. Nigeria. The Sudan. India. Burma.  These nations are burning believers in their church buildings and in their homes DAILY - and we hear little fuss about it on the news channels!

Please pay particular attention to these prophesied facts, Christian friend:
“And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.  And many false prophets shall rise, and deceive many.”       (Matthew 24:10-11)

Can we not easily identify all of these Scriptural events and relate to them in reference to societies world-wide in general, and to what we see and learn about taking place within the 21st Century professing Church today?  Of course we can!

It is time to wake up, Christian!  The first epistle of Paul to young Timothy, chapter 4: reads like one of todays newspapers! Take time to check it out for yourself!  We are witnessing the most obvious falling awayof true Christianity that the world has ever seen since Calvary!  Gross apostasy and unbelief is rampant within the walls of too many professing to be Christianchurches.

Even the sanctity of defined Christian marriage has now become polluted by the legalisation of ’Same Sex Marriage’!  It’s as though the Lord God must have made a mistake when He utterly destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah with fire and brimstone from Heaven!  Read Genesis chapter 19 to see what the Lord God thinks about such Sodomy.  If you and I can happily live with this immorality, we are part of the problem. 
Beware of the wrath of God to come upon all such hypocrites!  God is not mocked by mere hirelings, or wizards that peep!  He will say unto them on that terrible Day, “Depart from Me, ye that work iniquity!”  (Matthew 7:20-23)

Verse 5.  “For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion.  He shall give me the best of shelter in the worst of danger. In the secret of His tabernacle shall He hide me.  No one of old dared to enter the most Holy Place on pain of death; and if the Lord has hidden His people there, what foe shall venture to molest them?”  (C.H. Spurgeon, Treasury of David, page 137)

Verse 5.  “…He shall set me up upon a Rock.  If we are set (fixed) upon A rock, we might be vulnerable to attack.  However, being set up, or fixed, upon THE Rock, Christ Jesus, the Son of the Living Lord God, nothing can separate us from His hand.  Come all troubles, beset me round about, I will overcome you by the power of Christ’s Blood!

Verse 6.  “And now shall my head be lifted up above mine enemies round about me: therefore will I offer in His tabernacle sacrifices of joy; I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto the Lord.”  Being thus Eternally fortified amidst all potential troubles, let us lift up our voices to Heaven and cast down our triumphs on the heads of our enemies round about.  In Christ Jesus, the Rock of our Salvation, we are Eternally secure.

Thought:  “Let not your heart be troubled…believe in God…believe in Christ Jesus.”  Silence is not always ‘golden’, it is often just plain ‘yellow’.  Speak out!