A Prophecy of Judas: Arch-Betrayer! Psalm 41:9

Text: “Yea, mine own familiar friend in whom I trusted, which did eat of My bread, hath lifted up his heel against Me.”
                                                                                                                       Psalm 41:9. 

Good morning, betrayed Christian!  Having trusted a close friend, even a brother or sister in Christ Jesus, and having been terribly let down by them – the feeling of betrayal lies heavy in your heart and causes you much profound sorrow and emotional pain.  It’s a fact – being betrayed by a trusted friend is a horrible experience indeed.

Today’s Bible text from Psalm 41 and verse 9 reflects on one level the betrayal that king David obviously felt when grossly betrayed by some of his closest friends and associates.   

King Saul's entire kingdom was under Philistine threat when the young David, a mere shepherd boy, took on the National challenge and slew Goliath of Gath the Philistine giant of oppression.  Was king Saul forever grateful for David’s brave intervention and the manner in which he delivered Israel from Philistine threat?  No!  Very soon Saul’s jealousy of David drove him, not only to despise him, but to try of run him through with a javelin!  How deeply must David have rued such a betrayal, as the armies of king Saul hunted him and compelled him to live in rough caves of the earth to escape his venom.

Verse 9. “Yea, mine own familiar friend. ‘The man of my peace’, so runs the original, with whom I had no differences, with whom I was in league, who had aforetime ministered to my peace and comfort.  This was Ahithophel to David, and Iscariot with our Lord.

“Judas was an apostle, admitted to the privacy of the Great Teacher, bearing His secret thoughts, and, as it were, allowed to read His very heart.  'Et tu Brute?', Said the expiring Caesar.  The kiss of the traitor wounded our Lord’s heart as much as the nail wounded His hand.”  (C.H. Spurgeon, Treasury of David, page 200)

Verse 9.  “Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted…hath lifted up his heel against Me.  The betrayals of David, the son of Jessie, were horrible and sore to bear from the mere mortals associated to David who undertook to treat him in such a despicable manner.

However, when Judas Iscariot, the bearer of the purse of the little band of Christ’s disciples, covenanted to betray Jesus – his gross betrayal was infinitely more horrible, because he was betraying the very Son of God Himself!  How deep the pit of Hell in which now he languishes as a wage for his infamous treason!

It is a profound wonder of God’s Sovereign will that Judas Iscariot was foreordained to be chosen by Christ Jesus as His eventual betrayer.  Only the Lord God knows the end from the beginning in all things.

“I speak not of you all (the chosen disciples): I know whom I have chosen: but that the Scripture might be fulfilled, ‘He that eateth bread with Me hath lifted up his heel against Me.”  (John 13:18)

“When Jesus had thus said, He was troubled in spirit, and testified, and said, Verily (truly) verily, I say unto you, that one of you shall betray Me…He (John) then lying on Jesus’ breast saith unto Him, Lord, who is it?  Jesus answered, He it is, to whom I shall give a sop, when I have dipped it.  And when He had dipped the sop, He gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon.  And after the sop Satan entered into him.  Then said Jesus unto him, That thou doest, do quickly.”  (John 13:21-27)

This Scriptural prophecy of the betrayal of Jesus Christ, from the pen of David, pre-figures by hundreds of years what God had ordained must take place.  When reading our Bibles, we must at all times realize that the Word we are reading/studying is in fact the inspired (God-breathed) Word from God unto us; and is written in words easy for us to understand and believe.  What God says in His Word – God always does!

“But He (Jesus) said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the Word of God, and keep it.” (Luke 11:28)

When the preacher/Bible-teacher is quoting Holy Scripture (KJV), listen to him and take heed to what he says.  If the would-be preacher/Bible-teacher is merely spewing out his own words, thoughts, philosophies – pay him no attention!  All that glitters is not always gold – sometimes it is merely YELLOW.  Speak and listen to God’s truth!

“And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God?  For the living to the dead?  To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this Word, it is because there is no light in them.  (Isaiah 8:19:20)

True prophecy is prophecy that is contained within the 66 Canonical Books of the King James Bible.  They cannot be added to, nor taken away from by anyone – and God’s own pronounced Curse is against anyone daring to do so!

“For I (the risen Jesus) testify unto every man that heareth the words of prophecy of this book (Revelation and the 66 Bible Books), if any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: and if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the Holy City, and from the things that are written in this book.”  (Revelation 22:18-19)

One of the vilest ways in which you and I, as Christian believers, can ‘betray’ the Son of God today, is to cease to respect His written Word; cease to have close fellowship with Him in prayer; fail to tell others of His great Salvation Sacrifice on Calvary’s Cross.  In what manner are you and I betraying King Jesus Christ today?

Thought: Be faithful unto the end, and Christ shall give you and I a crown of life!

'Anti-Christ' is Already Here! Psalm 41:5-8

Text: “Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that anti-Christ shall come, even now are there many anti-Christs; whereby we know that it is the last time.”
                                                                                                                     1 John 2:18.

Good morning, alert Christian!  When all around you seem to have gone asleep at their God-ordained post, you and I shall not permit ourselves to be lulled into a Spiritual stupor, a state of Spiritual unconsciousness and sloth.  No!  While many in ‘the church’ worldwide today can seem to be ‘watching’ for the appearance of Anti-Christ – you and I know from our Scriptures that the spirit of Anti-Christ is already here, and working increasingly hard to usher in Satan’s vile kingdom on earth.

“Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the Devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.”
(1 Peter 5:8-9)

“Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”  (Matthew 26:41)

Verses 5 to 8 of Psalm 41 reflect the spirit of Judas Iscariot, the betrayer of Christ; and more specifically, the deeds perpetrated by anti-Christian adversaries of the believer’s soul.  

Verse 5. “Mine enemies speak evil of me.  The spirit of anti-Christ is often displayed by our enemies, not merely because they ‘speak evil’ of the Christ and the Christian, but that they do so falsely, in a most deceitful manner.  God forbid that the Christian should actually have some obvious weaknesses or faults, as we all most certainly do!

Verse 5.  “…When shall he/she die, and his/her name perish. The world can argue, oppose and fall out with other worldlings and even go to war with each other over social and political matters.  However, there is a particular depth of unwarranted hatred exercised when the unbelieving world targets the Christ, or the Christian – when this happens, and it does continually, the spirit of anti-Christ knows no hint of mercy as it levels its vitriol and evil hatred at the Christ and His people. 

“But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth.  This wisdom descendeth not from Above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish.  For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.”   (James 3:14-16)

Verse 5.  “When shall he die, and his name perish? If persecutors could have their way, the church should have but one neck, and that should be on the block. Thieves would fain blow out all candles. The lights of the world are not the delights of the world.  Poor, blind bats, they fly at the lamp and try to dash it down.”  (C.H. Spurgeon, Treasury of David, page 200)

“It is the name, the character, and privileges of a true servant of God that calls out the hatred of ungodly men, and they would gladly extirpate Him (Christ) from their sight.”  (W. Wilson 1860)

“Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! For so did their fathers unto the false prophets.”  (Luke 6:26)

Anti-Christian detractors are inspired by their father, the Devil, and the works of the Devil they will do unto genuine Christian witnesses and ministers.

“Ye are of your father the Devil, and the lust of your father ye will do.  He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there was no truth in him.  When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.”  (John 8:44)

Verse 6. “And if he (the anti-Christian) come to see me, he speaketh vanity: his heart gathereth iniquity to itself; when he goeth abroad, he telleth it.” 

Our Spirit-inspired Scriptures clearly teach us: “…By their fruits ye shall know them…” (Matthew 7:20)  Thus, the character traits depicted in Psalm 41: 5-8 show the ‘fruits’ of the anti-Christian spirit, and warn all genuine Christians to beware of them.

Verse 7.  “All that hate me (the Christ and the Christian) whisper together against me.  The spy meets his comrades in conclave (a secret place of meeting) and sets them all a whispering.  Why could they not speak out?  Were there afraid of the sick warrior?  Or were their designs so treacherous that they must needs be hatched in secrecy?”  

“Mark the animosity of the wicked – ALL.  How heartily the dogs unite to hunt the stag!  Would God we were half as united in holy labour as persecutors in their malicious projects, and were half as wise as they are crafty, for their whispering was craft as well as cowardice, the conspiracy must not be known till all is ready.”  (C.H. Spurgeon, Treasury of David, page 200)

Verse 8.  “An evil disease, say they, cleaveth fast unto him: and now that he lieth he shall rise no more.  This false report from the anti-Christian spirit, I see as more of a hoped for assumption than an actual medical diagnoses – thus revealing the depth of hatred felt by the oppressor, and the ruthlessness of his/her desire towards the righteous servant of God.

Mark well, the traits of the anti-Christ listed here, dear friends in Christ, for forewarned is also forearmed.  ‘Redeeming the time because the days are evil.’

Thought: The spirit of Anti-Christ is not a future event any more – it is already here!  Watch and pray, Blood-bought Christian!

Healing For Body & Soul Psalm 41:3-4

Text: “The Lord will strengthen him/her upon the bed of languishing: Thou wilt make all his bed in his sickness.  I said, Lord, be merciful unto me: heal my soul; for I have sinned against Thee.”
                                                                                                                    Psalm 41:3-4.
Good morning, physically & Spiritually sick Christian!  Sickness and disease are closely connected fruits of the Fall of Adam in Eden’s Garden: there was no sickness nor sin in this Created world before Eve, and then Adam, bowed the knee to Satan’s will and disobeyed their Sovereign Creator Lord God, Jehovah.  

Therefore, sin is the primary and root cause of sickness and disease throughout our world today.  The results of sinful disobedience – Spiritual and physical sickness - are a direct effect of God’s Curse upon His created beings, because of the original sin of disobedience to His will, and because of sin committed daily, due to our fallen state and condition.  

We who are NOT Created beings, but ‘…born…’ of fallen man/woman, are now born with a natural bent, a natural tendency, towards committing sin, i.e. disobedience to God’s Commandments and failing to come up to His Perfect example of Holiness in the Person of His Son, Jesus Christ.  (Romans 3:10)

“But now the righteousness of God without the Law is manifested…Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”
(Romans 3:21-23)

Mankind – Adam and Eve – that was Created perfect by a Perfect and Holy Lord God, fell into disobedient sin, in God’s Created Garden of Eden.  God cursed them, and all His Creation because of their sin, yet He then redeemed them by the shedding of innocent blood of animals.  However, sickness – Spiritual and physical sickness – has remained to plague fallen mankind ever since.  It is a legacy of the great fall of man into sin, and we face its potential dangers each and every day of our lives, even as redeemed Christian believers.  (Read afresh Genesis Chapter 3:1-24)

We fall down into Spiritual and physical ‘…beds of languishing…’ due to the consequences of sin – Adam’s sin in the Garden, and our own sins committed daily as we walk as pilgrims though this carnal and soul-polluting world.  Fact.  

As believers in Christ, we need to examine ourselves continually, to make sure we are ‘…in the faith…’; and confess openly to the Lord our continual faults and failings in the daily process of  what we theologians call Progressive Sanctification.

“Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove (test) your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates (rejected of God)?”                        (2 Corinthians 13:5)

“If we say we that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins (to God alone!), He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  If we say we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His Word is not in us.”  (1 John 1:8-10)

So, therefore, with this truth in mind, dear Christian friend, let us ask ourselves this vital question:  What ‘…bed of languishing…’ are you and I lying wounded in today?  Is it the bed of serious illness; incurable cancers; heart attack and strokes?  Or are you or I ‘…languishing…’, laid low, in a bed of guilt, or shame, or ridicule, due to foolishly committed personal sin?  

Believer, remember again the Word of the Lord: “There is NO DIFFERENCE, ALL HAVE SINNED AND COME SHORT OF THE GLORY OF GOD.”  You today, me tomorrow!  We are all in this particular ‘boat’ together!  We are all prone to commit sin! And, if we are honest – we all do commit sin every day, in thought, word, or deed.

Yet, in the midst of the daily realities of all this ‘doom and gloom’, I have some really good news for you.  There IS a Balm in Gilead, a healing and a help in the Lord God.

Verse 3. “The Lord will strengthen him upon the bed of languishing. The everlasting arms (of God) shall stay up his soul as friendly hands and downy pillows stay up the body of the sick.  How tender and sympathizing is this image; how near it brings our God to our infirmities and sicknesses!  Who ever heard this of old heathen Jove, or the gods of India or China?

“This is the language peculiar to the God of Israel; He it is Who deigns to become nurse and attendant upon good men.  If He smites with one hand, He sustains with the other.  Oh, it is blessed fainting when one falls upon the Lord’s own bosom and is upborne thereby!”  (C.H.Spurgeon, Treasury of David, page 199)

Our Lord God is a Holy Lord God Who cannot abide sin.  However, He is also a Lord God of infinite compassion and love; a Lord God Who can, and often does, heal us – Spiritually and physically from all our sickness and failings.  Praise His Holy Name!

If the Lord does not see fit to touch us miraculously with His hand of physical healing, then He will grant us additional grace and strength to go through the door of serious sufferings that lead, immediately thereafter, into His own Holy Presence.  God is good.

Verse 3b. “Thou wilt make all his bed in his sickness.  But, oh! How shall God make my bed, who have no bed of mine own to make?  Thou fool, He can make thy not having a bed to be a bed unto thee.  When Jacob slept on the ground, who would not have had his hard lodging, therewithal to have his Heavenly dream?” (Thomas Fuller 1608-1661)

Thought: “When I visited one day, as he was dying, my beloved friend, Benjamin Parsons, I said, ‘How are you today, Sir?’  He said, ‘My head is resting on three pillows – Infinite power; Infinite love, and infinite wisdom.” (Paxton Hood 1860)

More 'Blessings & Blastings' Psalm 41:1-2

Text: “Bless`ed (blessed with blessings) is he that considereth the poor: the Lord will deliver him in time of trouble.  The Lord will preserve him, and keep him alive; and he shall be blessed upon the earth: and Thou wilt not deliver him unto the will of his enemies.”
                                                                                                                 Psalm 41:1-2.

Good morning, blessed & blasted Christian!  Being Divinely blessed with Salvation in Christ Jesus and through His Atonement Sacrifice on the Cross alone – you are beset thereafter with all the blastings of the world, the flesh; and the Devil.  Fact.  This is an ongoing aspect of your entire life, from the day you are saved by God’s Sovereign grace, until the day you put your body of flesh into the grave, or the Lord returns to catch us away to Glory.

“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the Devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in our brethren that are in the world.  But the God of all grace, Who hath called you unto His Eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.  To Him be glory and dominion forever and ever.  Amen.” (1 Peter 5:8-11)

“Jesus Christ betrayed of Judas Iscariot, is evidently the great theme of this Psalm but, we think, not exclusively.  He is the antitype of David, and all His people are in their measure like Him, hence words suitable to the Great Representative are most applicable to those who are in Him.”  (C.H. Spurgeon, Treasury of David, page 198)

In other words, IF we have been redeemed by Christ Jesus, we seek to become like Him, or Christ-like, in all that we say, do, think, and experience in daily life.  Other people, yet unsaved, then see the evidence of our Christian profession and are, in this manner, and according to the Sovereign will of God, drawn by the Lord to repentance and Salvation in their own lives.  This is the power of a true Christian witness.

However, because Christ had to suffer the cruel sufferings of the Cross in order to save us, we too are called to enter into His sufferings, obviously in a much lesser manner, throughout our lives lived for His glory.  The Cross of daily sufferings must always come before the crown of Heavenly glory.

“For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for His sake; having the same conflict which ye see in me (Paul the apostle), and now hear to be in me.”  (Philippians 1:29-30)

Christ Jesus lived upon this cruel earth for thirty-three and a half years.  That time was evidenced as a time in which He went about doing wonderful and good things unto many others; yet was often repaid by betrayal, misrepresentation; and vilification.  Followers of Christ also fall victim to such oppositions and inflicted sufferings from the world, the flesh, and the Devil. It comes with the territory of being a true Christian.

“Such as receive a vile return for long kindness to others may read this song with much comfort, for they will see that it is, alas, too common for the best of men to be rewarded for their holy charity with cruelty and scorn; and when they have been humbled by falling into sin, advantage has been taken of their low estate, their good deeds have been forgotten, and the vilest spite has been vented upon them.” (C.H. Spurgeon, Treasury of David, page 198)

For over 38 years as a born again, Bible-believing, Christian – the author of this Bible Lesson has endured, constantly, this concept of what I have come to call, ‘Blessings and Blastings’.  For example, the Lord might use me to reach a precious soul/souls with His Word, or a word of honest testimony of how Christ saved me in 1979, within the cell of a Maximum Security Prison in Northern Ireland – that’s a blessing.

However, my experience has been, throughout all these years, that, when I am privileged of God to serve Him in some manner – there has come a ‘blasting’ hindrance, temptation, failure, from the world, flesh, or Devil prior to the ‘blessing from God’, OR a ‘blasting’ to promptly follow any ‘blessing of service’ I have been graciously enabled by God to fulfil.

Having recognized this continual sequence of events over a long period of time, I prayed and asked the Lord why these before or after ‘blastings’ were permitted by Him, when I had sought to serve Him so faithfully.  God soon directed me to His Scriptures to hear His reply:

“And lest I should be exalted above measure (think too highly of myself) through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, that messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure…gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities (and in all hindrances, oppositions, etc.) that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong (in Christ’s strength and grace).”  (2 Corinthians 12:7-10)

Verse 1. “Blessed is he that considereth the poor. Such as have been made partakers of Divine grace receive a tenderer nature and are not hardened against their own flesh and blood; they undertake the cause of the downtrodden and turn their minds seriously to the promotion of their welfare.  They do not toss them a penny and go on their way, but enquire into their sorrows, sift out their cause , study the best ways for their relief, and practically come to their rescue.”  C.H. Spurgeon, Treasury of David, page 198)

It is often not popular to seek justice and equality for underdogs in societies; one is looked upon as a trouble-maker, a ‘do-gooder’ attempting to rock the boat of social inequalities and the rich man’s rules.  However, Christians must at all times practice a Divine Spirit of goodness; see things compassionately, as Christ sees them; and act accordingly, and without respect of estate or social station.  Blasting is promised to those of us who seek to defend the rights of the poor and downtrodden today.

Thought: God will not ‘deliver us unto the will of our enemies…’, God will bless!