Human Will, Working with Divine Grace? Psalm 44:1-3

Text: “For they got not the land in possession by their own sword, neither did their own arm save them: but Thy right hand, and Thine arm, and the light of Thy countenance, because Thou hadst a favour unto them.”

Psalm 44:3.

          Thy people shall be willing in the day of Thy power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning: Thou hast the dew of Thy youth.”

Psalm 110:3.

Good morning, Christian made willing by grace!  The power of the Lord God, the Holy Spirit, the third Person of the Holy Divine Godhead, not only called you and I effectually unto Eternal Salvation by grace, but empowered us by His gift of faith to believe (trust) in Christ and by His full Atonement Sacrifice at Golgotha’s Cross, be Eternally saved and secured.  Wow!  What a Lord God of Sovereign grace and mercy we serve, in Christ Jesus!

“Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; which He shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; that being justified (just-as-if-I’d-never sinned) by His grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of Eternal life.” (Titus 3:5-7)

Fallen human will is made alive by God’s grace to, from thence, work together with Divine grace and power to fulfil the Divine and Sovereign Eternal purpose of the Lord God.

“Psalm 44, Title: “To the Chief Musician for the sons of Korah, Maschil.”  The title is similar to the Forty-Second Psalm, and although this is no proof that it is by the same author, it makes it highly probable.  No other writer should be sought for to father any of the Psalms when David will suffice, and therefore we are loath to ascribe this sacred song to any but the great Psalmist, yet as we hardly know any period of his life which it would fairly describe, we feel compelled to look elsewhere.  The last verses remind us of Milton’s famous lines on the massacre of the Protestants among the mountains of Piedmont.”  (C.H. Spurgeon, Treasury of David, page 210)

 On the Late Massacre in Piedmont

On the Late Massacre in Piedmont is a sonnet by the English poet John Milton inspired by the massacre of Waldensians in Piedmont by the troops of Charles Emmanuel II, Duke of Savoy in April 1655. In 1487, shortly after the Crusades in Southern France, Pope Innocent VIII turned his focus to the Waldensians in Northern Italy. The group was excommunicated from the church after refusing to conform to Catholicism. A series of attacks were made on the group before Charles I, Duke of Savoy intervened to bring peace to his lands.” (Wikipedia online)

“S. Ambrose observes that in former Psalms we have seen a prophecy of Christ’s passion, resurrection, and ascension, and of the coming of the Holy Ghost, and that here we are taught that we ourselves must be ready to struggle and suffer in order that these things may profit us.  Human will must work together with Divine grace.”  (Christopher Wordsworth 1848-1938)

“Thy people shall be willing in the day of Thy power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning: Thou hast the dew of Thy youth.” (Psalm 110:3)

Verse 1. “We have heard with our ears, O God.  To hear with the ears affects us more sensitively than to read with the eyes; we ought to note this and seize every possible opportunity of telling abroad the Gospel of our Lord Jesus viva voce (by word of mouth), since this is the most telling mode of communication.”  (C.H. Spurgeon, Treasury of David, page 210)

Verse 1. “...Our fathers have told us.  When fathers are tongue-tied religiously with their offspring, need they wonder if their children’s hearts remain sin-tied?  Religious conversation need not be dull, and indeed it could not be if, as in this case, it dealt more with facts and less with opinions.”  (C.H. Spurgeon, Treasury of David, page 210)

Verse 1.  “...What works Thou didst.  Why only work in the singular, when such innumerable deliverances had been wrought by Him, from the passage of the red Sea to the destruction of the hundred and eighty-five thousand in the camp of the Assyrians?  Because all these were but types of that one great work, that one stretching forth of Lord’s hand, when Satan was vanquished, death destroyed, and the Kingdom of Heaven opened to all believers.”  (Ambrose 340-397)

“Known unto God are all His works from the beginning of the world.” (Acts 15:18)

“While the songs of other nations sing of the heroism of their ancestors, the songs of Israel celebrate the works of God.”  (Augustus F. Tholuck 1799-1877)

If you and I have been gloriously and most graciously redeemed by the sinless and precious Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ – how can we not shout about it from the very roof-tops?

Verse 2.  “How Thou didst afflict the people and cast them out.  How fair is Mercy when she stands by the side of Justice!  Bright beams the star of grace amidst the night of wrath!  It is a solemn thought that the greatness of Divine love has its counterpart in the greatness of His indignation.”  (C.H. Spurgeon, Treasury of David, page 210)

The Lord God is a Holy Lord God of absolute wrath against all sin.  Praise His Name, He is also a Lord God of infinite mercy, love, and grace towards ‘His people’, and saves us from our sin.

The Lord God, by His Sovereign will, and according to His Divine Election in Eternity, chooses whom to save, writes our names in ‘the Lamb’s Book of life’, gives us to His Son, Jesus, and the Lord Jesus redeems us from our sins by His own sinless Blood, shed for us at Calvary’s Cross.

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

“Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are His (because He elected us to be His!), And let every one that nameth the Name of Christ depart from iniquity.”  (2 Timothy 2:19)

Verse 3.  “For they got not the land in possession by their own sword.  The passage may be viewed as a beautiful parable of the work of Salvation; men are not saved without prayer, repentance, etc., but none of these save a man; Salvation is altogether of the Lord.  Canaan was not conquered by them; the Lord was the conqueror, and the people were but instruments in His hands.”  (C.H. Spurgeon, Treasury of David, page 210)

Thought:  Mankind’s human will, after the fall of Adam from God’s grace, can do nothing but sin against His Holy Lord God.  God alone can ‘quicken’ our hearts, regenerate our spirits, and save us by His own pre-ordained Sacrifice.  God’s will is always done.

Returning Again to Hope in God! Psalm 43:5

Text: “If thou wilt return, O Israel, saith the Lord, return unto Me: and if thou wilt put away thine abominations out of my sight, then shalt thou not remove.” 

Jeremiah 4:1.

         “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and He will have mercy upon him: and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.”

Isaiah 55:7.

Good morning, cast down Christian!  You have arrived at this Bible Lesson, or this Bible Lesson has arrived at you, at a time when you lie battered and buckled by some failing in life; some straying from the Lord’s holiness; some dark depression of soul, when you feel the enormity of your fall into sin, and your heart now aches with feelings of your betrayal of your Holy Saviour, Jesus Christ; and the Spirit of God within you is sore grieved indeed.

If this describes you this morning, dear brother, if this describes you this morning, dear sister in Christ – then, read on, for the Lord God has sent you a personal message of His abiding love and HOPE for the days ahead.

To such a downcast one, as the Psalmist was when he wrote Psalm 43, I would pose this vital question: “Is God a liar?  Selah: Now meditate on this thought.  Think this through.

“God is not a man, that He should lie; neither the son of man, that He should repent (say something, and then renege on His Word!): hath not He said, and shall not He do it?  Or hath He spoken, and shall He not make it good?  Behold (look, and fully understand), I have received commandment to bless: and He hath blessed; and I cannot reverse it.”  (Numbers 23:19-20)

Psalm 43 is a message of new hope to you and to me, beloved, cast down friend.  It is a message that returns to the theme and subject of Psalm 42, and the Holy Ghost repeats the important comforting message of God’s hope, ever given to ‘His people’ in Christ Jesus.  Glory and thanks be to God for His gift of Divine HOPE!  Hallelujah!  Let me hear it?  Hallelujah!

Subject of Psalm 42: It is the cry of a man far removed from the outward ordinances and worship of God, sighing for the long loved house of his God; and at the same time it is the voice of a Spiritual believer, under depressions, longing for the renewal of the Divine Presence, struggling with doubts and fears, but yet holding his ground by faith in the Living God.” (C.H. Spurgeon, The Treasury of David, page 202)

Subject of Psalm 43: On account of the similarity of the structure of this Psalm to that of Psalm 42, it has been supposed to be a fragment wrongly separated from the preceding song; but it is always dangerous to allow these theories of error in Holy Scripture, and in this instance it would be very difficult to show just cause for such an admission.” (C.H. Spurgeon, Treasury of David, page 208)

I have no personal need to disagree with the ‘prince of preachers’, Charles Haddon Spurgeon, a firm favourite of my own these past 42 years as a regenerate Christian.  I personally believe  that Psalm 43 is, as my title for this morning’s Bible Lesson states, a ‘Returning Again To Hope in God’. 

For the past 42 years since the Lord saved me in, and from my sin, I have personally experienced a constant ‘returning again to hope in God’, as the vicissitudes (ups and downs) of life have led me to constantly return to God’s throne of grace in repentance from sin; for refreshment in trials; and for strength anew to be of some small use to the Master Captain of the Host, Christ Jesus, in the perpetual Spiritual Battle against sin and evil.

Praise God that His throne of grace is ever open to us – because of the shed Blood of Christ Jesus, our Redeemer King, at Golgotha’s Cross! Hallelujah!  What a Saviour!

Verse 8. “Hope in God. The worldlings motto is, ‘a bird in the hand.’ ‘Give me today’, say they, ‘and take tomorrow whoso will’.  But the word of believers is spero meliora – my hopes are better than my present possessions.”  (Elnathan Parr 1651)

When we, as regenerate, Bible-believing Christians, fall into mischief, fail Christ by weaknesses and lack of constancy; commit GROSS sin in open disobedience to our Lord God of wrath against all sin – we immediately FEEL the Spiritual grief we have foolishly caused, and fall into dark depression of spirit, knowing we have betrayed our calling in the Holy Christ Jesus; grieved God the Spirit within us; and caused our Heavenly Father to turn His Holy face away from us in separation from our sin.  We become ‘cast down’ indeed.

However, and praise God for the ‘howevers of God’s grace’ – in returning to Christ in repentance there is always forgiveness to be had.  God is so very gracious and good. 

“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth (Christ is the truth!) is not in us.  If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from ALL unrighteousness.”  (1 John 1:8-9)  Wow!  We are blessed with new hope in God!

Verse 4. Then will I go unto the altar of God.  Toward this altar all the rays of the light of Divine favour and grace, and of Divine truth and Holiness, have from Eternity converged; and from this point they shine forth toward and upon the soul and heart of the poor, far-off penitent, attracting him/her to that altar where he/she may meet with his/her God.”  (John Offord 1868)

Sincere repentance is not only a gift from God, but, once exercised by the erring Christian, it becomes the sinner’s passport to renewal of faith, hope, and fellowship with our Holy Lord God.  The Lord God does not save you and I only to leave us to survive alone!

“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: for every one that asketh (asks, and continues to ask!) receiveth (receives, and continues to receive!): and he/she that seeketh findeth; and to him/her that knocketh is shall be opened.”  (Matthew 7:7-8)

Verse 4. “Unto God my exceeding joy.  It was not the altar as such that the Psalmist cared for; he was no believer in the heathenism of ritualism: his soul desired Spiritual fellowship, fellowship with God Himself in very deed.  What are all the rites of worship unless the Lord be in them; What, indeed, but empty sells and dry husks?”  (C.H. Spurgeon, Treasury Of David, page 209)

Thought: “Why art thou cast down, O my soul?  And why art thou disquieted within me?  Hope in God: for I shall yet praise Him, Who IS the health of my countenance, and my God” (Psalm 43:5)   Souls that find restoration always praise the Lord God.

God’s Twin Graces: Light & Truth! Psalm 43:3-5

Text: “O send out Thy light and Thy truth: let them lead me; let them bring me unto Thy Holy hill, and to Thy tabernacles.”

Psalm 43:3.

Good morning, Christian enlightened by truth!  You and I are not floundering around in the darkness of man’s so-called ‘scientific’ and ‘educated’ opinions.  No!  We are walking in the light of God’s truth; we are focused on King Jesus Christ, the light of the world!  Hallelujah!

“Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”  (John 8:12)

‘Religion’, of every hue and diverse mode, purports to teach a way that man can approach unto God and join with Him in unity and fellowship forever.  However, genuine Christianity - the Bible-believing, born again, variety - possesses the only God-directed way of Eternal Salvation contained within the precious pages of our KJV Bible.  We have God’s own inspired (God-breathed) Word on this vital matter:

“Neither is there Salvation in any other: for there is none other name under Heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”  (Acts 4:12)

We are enlightened, Spiritually, by God’s truth, because the Lord Jesus Christ IS ‘the Truth’, and He IS the true ‘light of the world’.  All other ‘religions’ are false religions that lead nowhere but Hell and its torments forever.  Either this is truth, or God is a liar!

“Jesus saith unto him (Thomas), I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me.”  (John 14:6)

Our Bible text for this morning’s lesson, verses 3 & 4 of Psalm 43, reveal to us God’s twin graces – light and truth – and His Son, Jesus Christ is known by both concepts.  Christ IS light, and Christ IS truth personified.  Praise His Holy Name!

The Psalmist is crying out to God for both ‘light’ and ‘truth’ to lead him to the ‘Holy Hill’ of God; for without genuine Spiritual ‘light’ and ‘truth’, no sinful soul can ever be Eternally saved.  The unsaved soul must cry out to God for these two graces, if the Lord grants him/her faith to do so.  Only those elected to receive Salvation, in Eternity, before the foundation of the world, will ever be blessed with these vital twin graces.  Fact.  Many others will hear with their ears the Gospel message of Salvation in Christ alone, but they will not, cannot, respond – for the Lord God has rejected, ‘passed over’, them in Eternal reprobation.

“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give unto them Eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man (including ourselves!) pluck them out of My hand.  My Father, which gave them Me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of My Father’s hand. I and My Father are One.”  (John 10:27-30)

Only God’s chosen ‘sheep’ are called to Salvation and saved – no ‘goats’ are called or saved.  The Lord God only grants His pre-ordained, elect, ‘sheep’ faith to truly believe.

“When the Son of man (the risen Jesus Christ) shall come in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory: and before Him shall be gathered all nations: and He shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: and He shall set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left.  Then shall the King say unto them on His right hand, Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”  (Matthew 25:31-46)

Many today falsely believe that souls can be saved by making a ‘decision for Christ’.  Nonsense!  People can make all the ‘decisions’ they wish, but if the Lord God has not elected them to Salvation and written their name in the Lamb’s Book of Life – before the very foundation of the world – they will never be saved.  This is the Gospel truth!

“For unto us (the sheep) was the Gospel preached, as well as unto them (the goats): but the Word preached did not profit them (the goats), not being mixed with faith (the gift of God) in them that heard it.”  (Hebrews 4:2)

The Lord God only grants His gift of faith to those whom He has chosen (elected) to receive Salvation.  Without this true, God-granted, faith – a sinner’s soul can never be saved.

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves (you cannot whip it up!): it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man/woman should boast.  For we (God’s elect) are His workmanship, CREATED in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before (in Eternity) ordained that we should walk in them.”  (Ephesians 2:8-10)

Reader, what I have thus far set forth in this weekly Bible Lesson IS merely the ‘light’ and the ‘truth’ of God’s twin graces of Eternal Salvation in Christ Jesus and in His Cross alone.  I have not set forth any of my own personal opinions, thoughts, or imaginations.  I have merely quoted God’s Own Word, and given the Lord God’s Own Divine Authority – chapter and verse – to prove the truth of what I have written.  One either believes it or one does not!

“For unto us (the sheep) was the Gospel preached, as well as unto them (the goats): but the Word preached did not profit them (the goats), not being mixed with faith (the gift of God) in them that heard it.”  (Hebrews 4:2)

Verse 3. “Light and truth.  “In the day that thou eateth thereof, thou shalt surely die!” Adam ate, and in that day became the subject of sin and death.  This was truth executing judgement.  But light arose around the darkness; beams of mercy tempered the heavy cloud.  The promise of the Great Deliverer was given; then faithfulness was enlisted on the side of grace and became engaged for its bestowment; “...mercy and truth met together; righteousness and peace kissed each other.”  Since then, all humble and trusting souls have beheld them united and have made their union the ground of their confidence and joy.”  (Henry March 1839)

Verse 3.  “...Let them lead me. Be these my star to guide me to my rest.  Be these my Alpine guides to conduct me over mountains and precipices to the abodes of grace.

“Let them bring me unto Thy Holy hill, and to Thy tabernacles.  We seek not light to sin by nor truth to be exalted by it, but that they may become our practical guides to the nearest communion with God.”  C.H. Spurgeon, Treasury of David, page 208)

Thought: Let us covet earnestly God’s twin graces of light and truth, not only as we are granted faith to believe and receive Salvation in Christ alone, but to live our lives for Him more consistently, and to His greater glory in the eyes of men and angels.  Amen.

‘Ungodly Nation’ Conflict! Psalm 43:1-2

Text: “Judge me, O God, and plead my cause against an ungodly nation: O deliver me from the deceitful and unjust man.  For Thou art the God of my strength: why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?”

Psalm 43:1.

Good morning, Christian living in an ‘ungodly nation’!  Today, in this 21st Century time, when ‘the Christian church’ worldwide and international is quite clearly slipping into doctrinal and practical apostasy – true and genuine, Bible-believing Christians are increasingly becoming a minority group.  We are, in fact, living within nations that are ‘ungodly nations’; wallowing in worldliness, selfishness, and moral/political corruption.  The moral state of all nations today is an open disgrace to Biblical principles and true Christian standards of practice. 

We are witnessing what Scriptures prophesy as ‘the great falling away’ of the church.

“Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day (the Second Coming of Christ Jesus) shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.”                       (2 Thessalonians 2:1-17)

The Lord Jesus in that startling chapter of ‘end time’ revelation – Matthew chapter 24: - clearly teaches us to expect such a ‘falling away’, such a time of increased ‘iniquity’, or lawlessness, before He returns with devastating power and finality to put all things right.

“And because iniquity (lawlessness) shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.  But he/she that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.  And this Gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.”  (Matthew 24:12-14)

Therefore, given the high level of worldwide national lawlessness and iniquity; accompanied by a clear visible corruption within the professing ‘Christian’ church teachings – we are safe to assume that we not only live within ‘ungodly nations’, but that our doing so is bound to become even more perilous as true Christian standards in life deteriorate.  Take heed!

So, what are you and I genuine Bible-believing, born again Christians to do?  Psalm 43 gives us good instruction and encourages us to know the Lord’s way for us to take.  Praise Him!

“Judge me, O God, and plead my cause against an ungodly nation: O deliver me from the deceitful and unjust man.  For Thou art the God of my strength: why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?” (Psalm 43:1)

Solution:  We are to fully realise that it is us, ‘the Body of Christ’, the Church worldwide and international that must first make drastic changes if this situation is to be addressed positively to God’s greater glory.  We must do something about OUR failings and sin!

“For the time is come that judgement must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the Gospel of God?  And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?”  (1 Peter 4:17-18)

If the Lord God judges you and I to be living correctly in obedience to His Sovereign will, as revealed in His inspired Word – then happy are we indeed! He will empower us, ‘His people’ to not only endure, but to wage sound and profitable Spiritual warfare for the souls of His elect people who are still found outside of a personal relationship with the risen Christ Jesus.  If not, we must make ourselves right, by confession of our sin, and forsaking of it progressively.  (1 John 1:7-9) 

Verse 1.  “Judge me O God. I can laugh at human misrepresentation if my conscience knows that Thou art on my side.”  (C.H. Spurgeon, Treasury of David, page 208)

It is surprising how much slander, libel, fault-finding, and malicious gossip a true Christian can cope with, IF he/she has a clear conscience in the sight of the Living Lord God.  The Lord grants the power of His Spirit when we seek to humble ourselves under His will and grace.  Praise God it is so!

“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 saw in me, and now hear to be in me.” (Philippians 1:29-30)

“But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto Me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”  (Acts 1:8)

Verse 1. “...And plead my cause against an ungodly nation. When people are ungodly, no wonder that they are unjust; those who are not true to God Himself cannot be expected to deal rightly with His people.  Hating the King, they will not love His subjects.  Popular opinion weighs with many, but Divine opinion is far more weighty with the gracious few.  One good word from God outweighs ten thousand railing speeches of men.  He bears a brazen shield before him whose reliance in all things is upon his God; the arrows of calumny fall harmlessly from such a buckler.”  (C.H. Spurgeon, Treasury of David, page 208)

Verse 1. “O deliver me from the deceitful and unjust man.  Deceit and injustice are boon companions: he who fawns will not fear to slander.  From two such devils none can deliver us but God.”  (C.H. Spurgeon, Treasury of David, page 208)

The Lord God can NEVER cast off those for whom He has already suffered and died !

Verse 2. “Why dost Thou cast me off?  There are many reasons why the Lord might cast us off, but no reason shall prevail to make Him do so.  He hath not cast off His people, though he for a while treats them as cast offs.  Learn from this question that it is well to enquire into dark providences, but we must enquire of God, not of our own fears.  He Who is the Author of a mysterious trial can best expound it to us.”  (C.H. Spurgeon, Treasury of David, page 208)

“Let your conversation (entire lifestyle) be without covetousness, and be content with such things as ye have: for He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” (Hebrews 13:5)

You and I shall have constant conflict as we live our Christian lives within ungodly nations.  However, as we engage in continual Spiritual Battle with ungodliness – we are assured of Christ’s own power; His ever-given grace; and His matchless love.  Praise His Name!

Thought: Grieve not, true Christian! The Battle is almost done, Jesus comes soon!