Lead us Not Into Temptation… Prayer 10

Lead us not into temptation… (Luke 11)

God forgives sins. He is good and generous and has paid the price that we might be able to ask him for forgiveness and receive it by faith.

Part of The Father’s agenda regarding sin is not only that we might be cleansed and forgiven, but that we might be a forgiving people. It is basic discipleship to learn that all sins can be forgiven and that we must love and forgive others as we have been forgiven.

But the LORD wants to take us farther than those two steps, for it is his will that we hate and dread all sin, thus we are taught to pray “Lead us not into temptation…”.

These prayer requests, given to us by Jesus, all amount to humble acknowledgements; we need God to provide for our daily physical needs, we are dependent, frail creatures. We need forgiveness and to forgive, as well, for there is still an ongoing struggle within us with indwelling sin. We don’t want to be estranged from our Father, so we confess those sins, asking for forgiveness.

As we grow in grace we begin to see that our sins come as a result of patterns of temptation which we fall prey to. The idea is to learn how to disrupt those patterns and to be delivered out of the temptations which we have been prone to fall to. We now hate sin, and dread it. We don’t want to fall anymore.

Have you ever prayed about your temptations? All of us have our own unique iniquities which Satan, the tempter appeals to. The enemy of your soul has studied you and knows what predilections you struggle with.

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

We are to be aware of the danger of seduction into sin. Satan desires to have us , that He might sift us like wheat. We are cautioned by Jesus himself, “Watch and pray that you enter not into temptation”.No matter how willing we are spiritually, we are told to be aware of our weakness, ie the flesh, our unregenerate nature.

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

One of the best things that can happen to any Christian is when they come to the conviction that they can no longer trust themselves. When we realize that at any moment, given the right circumstances, any of us can defect from Christ in a shocking manner.

No one is exempt from the possibility. The Apostle Peter certainly wasn’t. He was confident that He loved Jesus so much that He would not defect even if everybody else among the disciples did defect.But within hours He had denied Jesus three times.

Jesus tried to urge Peter to pray about the trial and temptation which He was about to undergo, but Peter’s overconfidence in the flesh made him weary so He slept instead. What was there to pray about? It turned out there was much Peter could have been praying about. “Lord lead me out of the coming temptation, give me the grace not to deny you, the awareness of what is really going on…Please LORD don’t let me have to be put to the test!”.

There is a beautiful prayer about temptation found in the Proverbs of the Bible. It is often unrecognized as being so. but it exemplifies a profound prayer on this very subject,

Two things have I required of thee; deny me them not before I die: Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me:  Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the Lord? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain.( Proverbs 30:6-9)

What is Agur saying here? Is he not pleading “Lord I do not trust myself, Please don’t let me be tested either with riches or poverty, as I am afraid of what I might do in either case?”

All we need to know about the terrible battle with sin and temptation is found in the account of the Fall. The Devil came to our first parents as the tempter. He came not directly, but subtly he challenged the authority, the goodness and the veracity of God. Always his goal is to estrange us from God himself, to pull us away.

Has God really said….? Underneath every temptation a serious religious question is raised; in this case the question is about the Word of God and their understanding of it. Did the first couple really hear God right?

Eventually in that one incident the Devil had them questioning God’s Word, God’s goodness, the God ordained Sanctions,( You shall not surely die) and by temptation he had turned them into rival”gods” choosing their own definition of ‘good and evil”.

Adam and Eve now knew ‘good and evil’ by firsthand experience, and every tear of sorrow ever shed since is because they yielded to temptation.

Temptation is dreadful, and sin is awful and destructive. It is the evil of evils, something to fear and hate. Above all it is something to pray about and to seek to overcome with all of our being. God is the one we must resort to and to seek for deliverance.

This request “Lead us not into temptation…” has an implicit promise within it. God will lead us. By Jesus teaching us to pray this way, He is telling you that God is willing to lead us in those paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. God knows which misguided ways we travel, often repetitively, by which we have too often fallen. He can show us new ways; new habits of thought and deed which will cause us to triumph over the sins which had once so easily beset us. We do not have to yield to temptation.

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You Must Forgive Your Trespassers… Prayer 9

“Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us…”

In order to be able to sincerely ask forgiveness of our sins, we must be willing to undergo prayerful self examination. The LORD’s prayer teaches us to ask God to show us our secret faults, our trespasses, and any obstacles between our soul and God which we might be unaware of.

We serve and worship a God who is able to search our hearts. He can see what we cannot see about ourselves. We can learn to pray sincerely with David, for the light of God in our self examination, knowing that what God exposes, God purges out of our souls.

Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.(Psalm 139:23-24)

In the process of doing so and asking our Father for forgiveness, invariably, names and faces of others who have sinned against us will arise in our consciousness. We must forgive from the heart all of those who have sinned against us, in order to receive forgiveness.

The knowledge of our own sin and of the reality of God’s merciful forgiveness is supposed to make us tender hearted and forgiving towards those who sin against us. We rejoice in a God who will not”Mark Iniquities” , who freely forgives all sin, transgression and iniquity, and who “casts our sins into the sea of forgetfulness”.

It would be a serious sin to receive such blessings, but then to not let them soften your own heart towards those who are indebted to you, or who have wronged you.

Thus the request for forgiveness of our own sins is conditional, “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors…”.

Do we hate all sins or only those sins committed against our own persons? This is the difference between genuine sanctification and self Righteousness. Can we forgive others? Can we go further and actually love others, who have hurt, abused or spoken evil of us?

The Parable of the debtor makes this point clearly,

Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants. And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents.But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made.The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.

 But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest.

 And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt.So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done. Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?  And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses. (Matthew 18:23-35)

We must pray constantly not to be affected and infected by the bitterness, hatred, and pettiness of our age. There will be many offenses presented to us. Constantly forgive others as you have been, and would want to be forgiven by God yourself.

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Forgive us Our Debts… Prayer 8

“…and Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors”

We are dependent creatures, we need our daily bread and are taught to look to God for it in the Lord’s prayer. We certainly cannot live by bread, but neither can we live without it.

In the same way, we cannot live without the mercy of God’s forgiveness. We need it, daily. I cannot live without God, without communion and the sense of God in my life. But I am a sinner. I have to have forgiveness.

God gives us so much more than we even realize. His giving is constant, often silent, it even goes unrecognized by the recipients all too often. The Psalmist blessed the LORD who “Daily loads us with Benefits”.

Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah.( Psalm 68:19)

Another of the Psalms extols a list of blessings and benefits that the LORD bestows upon us, and puts “Forgiveness of iniquities at the top of the list;

Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s.( Psalm 103:1-5)

The LORD is an abundant giver, but even more importantly He is an abundant forgiver. There will be no Spiritual life at all without the acknowledgment and forgiveness of Sins. The denial of Sin, and/or the mistaken belief that it is somehow an act of unbelief to continually confess our sins to God in prayer, both amount to “remaining in darkness”.

Yes there is a full and free pardon to all who believe in the gospel, which never need be repeated. God forgave our sin for Jesus’ sake. Salvation is “once and for all”, we who believe are forgiven and have the remission of sins.

When Jesus tried to clean Peter’s feet at the last Supper, Peter refused. He had bathed before hand, He only needed his feet cleansed, the part of Him that came in contact with the World,

Then cometh he to Simon Peter: and Peter saith unto him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet? Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter.Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me.Simon Peter saith unto him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head. Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all.( John 13: )

Were we washed from our sins once and for all when we became Christians? Yes we were. But do we still sin, often daily? Sadly, yes we do. Should we not ask for forgiveness of specific sins constantly, although in one sense we have been forgiven of them? Yes we should.

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” ( I John 1:9)

Remember that Prayer is about more than simple cause and effect. it is about deeply aligning ourselves with God. We come into agreement on a set of facts, we learn to deplore and hate our sins, (as God does) , we do not want to take for granted the fact of our forgiveness, so we constantly expose our sins to the light of God in prayer, taking God’s side against them until sin itself is destroyed in our members.

Forgiveness of sin is not a mere abstract concept or religious principle which God offers us. It cannot be separated from Christ himself, who gave himself as an offering to make it possible. When we pray for the forgiveness of our sins we are applying in prayer the entire gift of Christ. We are applying Christ himself to our debtedness and residual depravity. Daily, until we arrive at glorification we should be praying for forgiveness of specific sins which we have committed.

Saphir notes;

Sin is debt.What do we owe God? We Owe ourselves to Him. All that we are, body, soul and spirit is His;and we ought to give all to Him,and we ought to be his, and to give all to Him and that always.And this debt is daily growing for God is daily giving and we are always misappropriating his gifts.We cannot get rid of our debt other than by becoming more his debtors, He forgives us and now we owe Him more than ever, for as the Apostles say,”Owe no many anything but to love one another..” So Christ expects from the sinner to whom much is forgiven, that He will love much.” (The LORD”S PRAYER, Adolph Saphir)

Other versions say “Forgive us our trespasses…”. Saphir notes in his book, that all men can grasp this, the simplest principle of the mystery of Sin, that it is a debt, or a trespass. We all know what it means to be in debt, or to have someone owe us… so also we can all relate to the notion of Trespass, wherein we step over a boundary or a line. Sin is a very real debt and a trespass against God.

If sin is a debt and trespass, is it not good for us, at least once a day (as the LORD evidently intended and expects us to do) to ask our heavenly Father to remit our debt, to disperse the cloud which intercepts from us the light of his countenance?”( ibid)

Yes the debt has been “paid in full” and the account has been settled in the sacrifice of Jesus, but only good comes by the constant and humble acknowledgement of it, in asking for forgiveness of sins in prayer.

Sin itself is a profound mystery. What is it? Where did it come from? Only God fully knows the total depth of the mystery of Sin, and He is at war with it. God hates all sin. Jesus had to die to give us a hope of being forgiven of it and of conquering it in ourselves.

Saphir again, is poignant on this point,

Sin prevails everywhere but few know it.They who are most familiar with it(sin) and most obedient to it’s sway, are least acquainted with its character, and feel least its tyranny.Sin is myriad shaped. It wears a thousand masks, speaks with a thousand voices, and pursues a thousand methods. It can be childish and ambitious; now it is heroic and laborious, now frivolous and effeminate; now it is gross and revolting, now polished and beautiful; yet it is ever the same; Life without God, enmity against the Most High”(Ibid)

Even in the soul of a Christian, sin has a toxic effect. It deadens the soul towards God and numbs holy affections and impulses. It kills love for the brethren as well for there is no love in Sin.

We cannot truly look even at our own sin objectively for it frightens us to admit it, and the effect of Sin is spiritual blindness. Only from the vantage point of Calvary, and of the forgiveness it affords, can sin ever be seen even remotely for what it truly is. Only when the gospel assures us that we are forgiven and accepted can we be willing to allow ourselves to see the depths of our guilt.

God’s method of sanctification, is not the denial of Sin or it’s seriousness, rather it is a combination of a deep sense of conviction against sin ,

with an assurance of pardon and the status of Righteousness as a gift from Jesus,

and finally the cultivation of a holy hatred of sin and iniquity.

Thus we are taught to pray about our sin, and to ask for forgiveness of them, in utter dependance upon God.

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What We Shouldn’t Allow To Happen ( in the time of shaking)

Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven.  And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:(Hebrews 12:25-28)

We are living in the time of shaking. Shaking, like all of God’s methods of trial and testing, does not add anything to your faith nor does it take anything away. Shaking merely reveals what is truly grounded in your soul and what is not.

I am beginning to see and hear reports as to how the current Covid crisis is beginning to affect believers, even to the point of dividing us. A good many have just abandoned fellowship and the support of the local church out of fear of it. What about the command ,”Don’t forsake the assembling of yourselves together as you see the day appearing”?

Do we believe we were put into the body of Christ or not? Is it a conviction to you or a mere preference, that we are “members one of another….the body of Christ”. Is Jesus in the church or isn’t he? “Where two or more are gathered together, there am I in the midst of you”.

I am even beginning to get reports that some are shunning others. Christian People who have received the Covid shot are rejecting fellowship with other Christians who haven’t received it, out of fear that they might spread the disease.

We are followers of the ONE who went and touched Lepers, and our Christian forbearers once took exposed children off of the streets, during plague times to show them the Love of Jesus and minister to them. Now we are afraid to be in the same room with a brother or sister based on a vaccination?

How can this be? Our faith is being tested, little flock. Do we love Jesus or don’t we? Do we love each other or not?

Covid is being used to divide us. It is not my purpose to pontificate on the utility of vaccines or anything about Covid itself as a disease.

We don’t condemn people for taking the shots or for rejecting them for various reasons. This is at this point a Romans 14 issue. Everyone has to inform their own heart and conscience and do what they think best. I definitely;y don’t think the vaccine is the Mark of the Beast.

What is moving me to write this is to show you that in many cases your faith is being put to the test, and underneath every test, there is a religious principle at stake, some spiritual revelation is being called into question, and thus Christ is either being confessed or denied.

Is fellowship physically dangerous? Will singing with the church threaten your health? Can participation in Communion possibly harm you? if a brother or sister has a conviction about not being vaccinated, should you disfellowship them?

I am not saying that if someone is presenting heavy symptoms of a communicable disease we should all just welcome them into our close proximity.(Common sense).

But I am hearing of people disfellowshipping their brothers and sisters on the basis of whether or not they took the shot. This , we shouldn’t allow to happen. We are Christians. We don’t fear each other, nor do we paralyze ourselves in fear. Perfect Love casts out fear. We pray for each other, and seek God together, that is what Christians do.

Paul rebuked Peter for disfellowshipping the Gentiles, on the basis of Pharisaic separation. The Covid cult is Pharisaic also . I do not deny there is a Covid, an actual disease which has killed people.

But on the other hand there has and is a Psychological operation against the public, which Governments are using to control people, and to curtail certain activities that some in power object to. Church would be one of them. We need to meet together and worship. We need to be able to look into each other’s face without fear and to hug and lay hands on each other calling upon God. Don’t let them separate us!

Is not the cup of blessing which we bless a sharing in the blood of Christ? Is not the bread which we break a sharing in the body of Christ? Since there is one bread, we who are many are one body; for we all partake of the one bread.( I Corinthians 10:16-17)

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He made intercession for the Transgressors…

Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?  For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.  He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.(Isaiah 53:1-3)

It is the climax of human history,  the apocalypse, the very end of the world. The Jewish people are surrounded on all sides by armies who have amassed themselves together to  wipe them out! Israel’s  enemies have never been so seemingly close to achieving their goal .

Suddenly something happens which is totally unexpected, Israel’s  God reveals himself . The embattled nation dimly recognizes Him as the one whom they had once shunned and pierced. It is now evident that the Messiah/Saviour who has come to them in their most desperate hour,  bears the marks of crucifixion!

The nation of Israel reels. It was Him all along? The Nazarene? Jesus ? Everything they thought they knew of their own history, scripture, and law has been upended. In the darkest hour, the 2500 year old prophecy of Zechariah is fulfilled, “They shall look upon ME whom they have pierced and they shall mourn as for an only Son…”.

In the fourth Servant Song, Isaiah predicts the heartfelt confession that the prodigal son nation of Israel, long estranged from her God, will make at that point in time ;

…he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.  He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.(Isaiah 53:1-3)

He is despised and rejected of men;…When men don’t ignore Him, they usually scorn or hate him, rejecting Him virulently. To this day, they often refuse to give any credence to Him, and loathe the implications of his life and ministry. Somehow they sense instinctively that this man reveals the very secrets of their own hearts, therefore they hate and shun him.

There is something about Him that brings out in men either an instinctive abhorrence , or an attraction, as it is written,  “He came unto His own and His own received him not… but as many as received him…”. He does not and cannot ‘fit in’ with the Age, He is always separate, isolated,  the outsider.

…a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief…This is a man completely familiar with the human condition. He knows by experience what sorrow and grief , weakness and limitation are all about. The Messiah entered into our human dilemma, experiencing death in all of its toxic forms.

…and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not…What is it about him that causes so many to turn away? To be tempted to be ashamed to even so much as associate with Him? Why does he have to promise reward for those who will confess him before their own generation?

We confess that there was a time for all of us, (the believing community of the Servant), that we couldn’t look at Him, we turned away from him in shame and horror. Was it that our own age so hated Him, and we didn’t want to share in His reproach ?

Is it a sad, misguided allegiance with the rest of the world that “despises and rejects” Him whom God has sent? Could it be that we know deeply that His suffering is a testimony to our own sinfulness, weakness, and rebellion ? Does He not evoke the deepest wells of God hatred in the hearts of Adam’s proud sons and daughters?

So we have all turned away our faces from Him at one time or anther. We have laughed at him, taking out own seat with the rest of the scorners who cynically mock him in our own age. Our estimation of Him has been faulty, we didn’t see anything special in Him, nothing to regard or be in awe of.

But all that tells us is that our own faculties of judgment are so utterly corrupt, and that sin has made us all hopelessly bankrupt, morally and spiritually, unable to see truth, Beauty and genuine Holiness and goodness, when it is presented to us.He, the Servant, is rejected of men, but precious to God.

The Jewish nation has had many figures in her history, many noble and more than a few ignoble. But far and away the one figure in Jewish history who has invoked the most intense despite, and loathing among them , has been Jesus of Nazareth.

I quote the Hebrew Christian author of the last century, David Baron;

“No person in the history of the Jews has provoked such deep-seated abhorrence, as He who came only to bless them and on the cross prayed for them,”Father forgive them, they know not what they have done…”…Their hatred of Him was intense and mysterious…All through the centuries no name has provoked such intense abhorrence among the Jews as Jesus…I have known personally most amiable, and as men, lovable characters among the Jews; but immediately the name “Jesus” was mentioned, a change came over their countenances, and they would fall into a passion of anger….How often it has been my lot to witness some of my people almost mad with rage – clenching their fists, gnashing their teeth, and spitting on the ground at the very mention of that name which to the believer is “As an ointment poured fourth”….Israel’s atitude to our Lord Jesus may be gathered also from their literature. In the filthy legends about him in the Talmud and more modern productions, the very names by which he is called are blasphemous. The precious name Yeshua has been changed to Yeshu,(an acronym meaning ‘May hisname and memory be blotted out’)…He is often styled “the Transgressor” and another frequently used term, “Tolui( “the hanged One”) which is equivalent to “the accursed one”.( Baron,  The Servant of Jehovah)

But the Jewish people are a microcosm of the entire Human race, their unbelief and rejection of their own Messiah is a type of all of our own bitterness towards God. How did we come to love Jesus, whom we once would have crucified? He revealed himself to us in grace and Mercy, as He will soon to his own original chosen people! Hallelujah! 

Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.  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.  All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.(Isaiah 53:4-6)

One of the things they will suddenly see, when finally the veil is lifted from their eyes, is that the sufferings of Jesus, were vicarious sufferings, and that Jesus was carrying out a priestly role in his life and Passion at the hands of gentiles and Jews.

Thus the fourth verse could literally be rendered,

“Verily they were our griefs ( or sicknesses) which He bore,and our sorrows ( or pains) with which He burdened himself…”

The word  nasa, to bear is a technical Levitical term used of the sacrifices, for example of the “scapegoat” offering, from Leviticus 16

And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat, and shall send him away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness:  And the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities unto a land not inhabited: and he shall let go the goat in the wilderness.(Leviticus 16:21-22)

The idea is that the sacrifice takes upon itself the sins, or takes responsibility or bears the penalty of, the sins of the worshippers. The fourth Servant Song is teaching that the true anti-type to the scapegoat offering is the Messiah himself. On the day that God opens Israel’s eyes, they shall see it and confess to it with sorrow and love.

Matthew 8 says that the physical healings of Jesus were a fulfillment of Isaiah 53,

When the even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick:  That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses.(Matthew 8:16-17)

It is true that sickness and disease are part of the curse, there would be none had man not sinned. The Messiah truly did come into the world and suffer to effect a complete salvation for those who worship him. This blood bought salvation shall ultimately be fully realized, for all of the affects of sin, pain, guilt, God estrangement, sickness, guilt, etc, will be done away. Surely He bore our griefs…

The Apostle Peter uses Isaiah 53 to proclaim this as well,  when he reminded us that it was Jesus,

… Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.(I Peter 2:24)

The  self incriminating confession of Israel’s blindness  continues ;

(lit) “…But we regarded Him as stricken (Plagued),smitten of God and afflicted (bowed down under suffering)…”

The expressions, “Plagued”, “Smitten of God”, and “bowed down under suffering” all refer to the fate of one under the judgment of God for sins such as blasphemy.

We have already refered to the Talmudic epitaphs for Jesus; the Rabbis and Sages  call him Jeshu ( May His name Be blotted out), the “Hanged one”,(cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree), a convicted magician, “the transgressor” who deserved such suffering and crushing.

But they will freely confess on that day that in their blindness they have only been terribly half right. This Servant of he LORD was indeed plagued, smitten and crushed by the LORD, but not  for his own sins, for he did no sin, he never broke faith with God, but for all of ours!

It was for our transgressions that He was wounded(literally pierced through) …

Transgression is high-handed sin against God. God draws a line and forbids us to step over it, and we step right over it in defiance…because we won’t even have God rule us. But the Servant of the LORD was pierced through to death for our transgressions.

…He was bruised ( literally crushedfor our iniquities….

Our Iniquities, refer to our lawlessness. The Servant of the Lord was “crushed” under the wrath of God, for the lawlessness which estranged us from the Judge of all of the earth. This language of Him bearing our iniquities and our transgressions, cries out that the Servant is a vicarious substitute.

The sacrificial system ordained by God presupposes wrath and satisfaction by substitute. Torrents of blood flowed out of Jerusalem on feast days and even in the course of the daily temple services. There is nothing new to the Bible about substitution offerings, they have been around since the garden of Eden, when God killed an animal to clothe Adam and Eve.

But the  reconciliation of man to God has as much to do with Righteousness as it does mercy. The Righteous God can only reconcile us in a Righteous way. The demands of the Law of God must be met; holiness and justice cry out for satisfaction.

At the end, when God opens her eyes, Israel will finally see and confess, that the one whom they had long rejected, was the Servant God appointed to make expiation* for them.

* To make right a wrong, to atone, to propitiate.

Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.  Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors (Isaiah 53:10-12)

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The LORD  appointed the Servant,  that He might take our place in the judgment of our sin. All of the humiliation, pain, perplexity and estrangement that He experienced, is summed up in this terse, “He(the LORD) hath put him (the Servant) to grief“. It can also read, “He hath made him sick”. 

The death of the Servant was an offering of propitiation for our sins, that is a satisfaction offering. All of the demands of the broken law of God, and the offended holiness of God against sinners, have been satisfied by the offering of the Servant.

…when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin…This is addressed to the reader or hearer of this prophecy, “… When You make His life your sin offering…”. We are to approach God solely by the offering of this life, for this is the only sacrifice acceptable to God. In fact, this Servant is nothing less than the offering God made to himself.

…he shall see his seed… Death will not be the last word for the Servant, for the Servant will see the outcome of his agony,  a believing seed will arise out of his work. His sufferings will be the source of a vast, redeemed congregation , purchased  by His blood. They will be  faithful and true believers in Him, and in the God whom He came to reveal.

Psalm 22, a similar prophecy of the suffering and glory of the Messiah predicting the crucifixion the casting of lots for His garment and the Servant’s death at the hands of gentiles, starts with the cry of dereliction, “My God,My God, why hast thou forsaken me?”  and ends with a variation of the saying, “It is finished (He hath accomplished)”.

But in the middle of the Psalm the prophet looks ahead past the suffering of Messiah, to behold the glory and exaltation which should follow,

All they that be fat upon earth shall eat and worship: all they that go down to the dust shall bow before him: and none can keep alive his own soul.  A seed shall serve him; it shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation. They shall come, and shall declare his righteousness unto a people that shall be born, that he hath done this.(Psalm 22:29-31)

…he shall prolong his days, … This is a prediction that the Servant will live forever.  How could the same servant be “Cut off of the land of the living…and be appointed a grave with the wicked and the rich in his death”  yet prolong his days?  Isaiah 53 predicts here the resurrection of the LORD”S Servant.

This promise is also given in Psalms to David’s seed,

He asked life of thee, and thou gavest it him, even length of days for ever and ever. His glory is great in thy salvation: honour and majesty hast thou laid upon him. For thou hast made him most blessed for ever: thou hast made him exceeding glad with thy countenance.(Psalm 21:4-6)

…and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand

God’s pleasure, all that the Lord would accomplish for the reconciliation of Israel and of all sinful men, will succeed by the hand of the willing Servant. There will be many of every tribe and tongue who shall come to know the “only true God” through the work of the servant. The good purposes of the Lord shall flourish by the suffering of this one.

…He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied… This too is a reference to the resurrection of the Servant, and the satisfactory outcome of his work. He will see the result of what he suffered for, and will be satisfied. It will have been worth pouring out his very soul to death, when He sees the redeemed company, knowing and loving God.

…by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities… Accepting in humble faith, the report of what the Servant has done for us; with all of it’s implications as to our persons, (that we are sinners in need of redemption, utterly separated from God by our sins, in need of forgiveness and deliverance from wrath), amounts to saving faith.

Knowing and receiving the risen Servant of the LORD, and his work of sin bearing, taking upon himself the guilt for our sins,  is the only way sinful man can be justified before a holy God. It is the God appointed way to be saved.

As “Abraham believed God and it was accounted to him for righteousness“, even so the many, who simply believe the report of the Servant, shall receive as a free gift right standing with God. This is only possible because the offering of the Servant has satisfied the claims against us, and given the LORD a Righteous way to justify us.

What glorious mystery! That we sinners can be justified by faith in the one who took our place in judgment before the Lord, dying under the penalty of God’s law in our place. Truly with tears streamiing down our eyes we sing ;

And can it be that I should gain
An interest in the Savior’s blood?
Died He for me, who caused His pain-
For me, who Him to death pursued?
Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?
Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?

‘Tis mystery all: th’Immortal dies:
Who can explore His strange design?
In vain the firstborn seraph tries
To sound the depths of love divine.
‘Tis mercy all! Let earth adore,
Let angel minds inquire no more.
‘Tis mercy all! Let earth adore;
Let angel minds inquire no more.

He left His Father’s throne above
So free, so infinite His grace-
Emptied Himself of all but love,
And bled for Adam’s helpless race:
‘Tis mercy all, immense and free,
For O my God, it found out me!
‘Tis mercy all, immense and free,
For O my God, it found out me!

Long my imprisoned spirit lay,
Fast bound in sin and nature’s night;
Thine eye diffused a quickening ray-
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.

Amazing love- how can it be” That thou my King shoudst die for me?

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What We Need: Daily Bread… Prayer pt 7

Give us this day our Daily bread…(Luke 11)

We have been learning prayer, according to none less than Jesus. He is the best qualified to teach us to pray, having a perfect and complete knowledge of God; what He requires and desires of men, and of man; His needs, limits, weakness, and our deepest longings.

According to the LORD’s prayer, man’s needs are fourfold. We need to pray for our daily bread, as well as to pray for the forgiveness of Sin, and along with that, we must forgive any who have offended us. Finally we must pray for deliverance from Temptation and from the Evil One.

What does it mean to pray that God our Father “…give us this day our daily bread”?

We are literally praying for everything we need, physically speaking. We need to eat, to have shelter, to maintain, to feed our children, to be healed or to be healthy, so we look to the Father in heaven for all of these things.

Many teach that this request must be spiritualized, as if the petition for mere earthly needs is somehow beneath the Spirit of prayer. But the Physical aspect of Life is important to the Father in heaven also. God knows our needs, and cares about us. He is willing to provide for us in this world.

Jesus Christ , in his earthly sojourn , threw himself upon God in total dependance for his daily bread, He thanked and blessed God for his food, joyfully expecting all as gifts from above. He didn’t exalt the Spiritual over against the physical. In the Incarnation God sanctified the physical world again, just as he did in Creation when he proclaimed all to be good.

Prayer is much more than merely a cause and effect transaction, it is instead the assumption of a posture before God the Father. The posture is one of a supplicant and a total dependent.

The proud and God estranged say “I earned my daily bread by my labor and intelligence” and in essence thank themselves for the bounty they have received. “I work hard to feed my family, so why should I ask God for bread?”. Hard work and skill and ingenuity are very important indeed, for the commandment of God says, “Six days shall you labor…”.

Is it not true however, that even the skill, and ability to work and apply ourselves to our respective tasks, is a gift from the LORD whether we realize it or not? In one second we could lose our jobs, or our health and intelligence, and be reduced to utter destitution at any time. Everything we have is a gift of God, and an undeserved one at that. This is the thinking behind teaching us to ask for our daily bread.

Notice that it is “Daily bread” we are asking for. Day in and day out we are to come to God in dependance and in faith for the strength, wisdom, and impetus to do our work well. We need God!

He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, and herb for the service of man: that he may bring forth food out of the earth;And wine that maketh glad the heart of man, and oil to make his face to shine, and bread which strengtheneth man’s heart.( Psalm 104:14-15)

Obviously Man shall not live in bread alone, but Man cannot live without bread. Of course we need the Spiritual, we need to pray that God’s name be hallowed and revealed to us, and that the Kingdom of God would come to us. But we need bread, and all that it takes to produce it, to digest it and to profit by it and enjoy it. All of this is a gift of God not to be taken for granted.

Nothing is better for a man than to eat and drink and enjoy his work. I have also seen that this is from the hand of God.( Ecclesiastes 2:34)

Furthermore, God has given riches and wealth to every man, and He has enabled him to enjoy them, to accept his lot, and to rejoice in his labor. This is a gift from God.( Ecclesiastes 5:19)

The eyes of all wait upon thee; and thou givest them their meat in due season. Thou openest thine hand, and satisfiest the desire of every living thing.(Psalm 145:15-16)

The Father is the giver. Only He can truly give us anything.The Father gives us all, constantly, countless gifts of Love. He is the creator of all things as wells as the sustainer. Saphir says

God is the only giver, and yet the least recognized. Because He gives us so constantly, so quietly, we forget to notice and to thank Him. When a gift is withheld we feel it and acknowledge the power of God, but when we receive it day by day, and year by year, the very continuity of the blessing renders us oblivious of it’s great and high source. God gives his gifts so quietly as if He did not wish to be observed and thanked, but he is not indifferent to our gratitude and affection, asking, “…were there not ten healed? Where are the other nine?” He is so generous and tender, linking his goodness and bounty in a thousand ways with our own thought and works, that only those taught of his Spirit ever think of thanking Him:”

Becoming a Christian is a kind of awakening to the fact that God is love and has constantly given us countless good things. My life has been a constant reception of mercies, food, clothing, family , peace, sanity, health and safety. God has watched over me, (even when I was unaware of it), He has waited on me, and for me, when I never would have considered waiting upon Him.

The very nature of God is generosity! He delights to give to us good and undeserved things. He gives to His friends, and even to His enemies. The worst sinner on earth can enjoy a cool breeze on a hot day and a sip of lemonade.Their hard hearts can melt at the sight of a grandchild, and as long as they are alive, there is hope for them that they can be saved. God is good!

Most of the gifts we have enjoyed from Him, we never asked for. It never occurred to us that they were gifts, but they were. Jesus is teaching us to know and recognize our dependance upon God, our limitation and His benevolence and Lovingkindness. Everything thing we need to live, and to truly enjoy Life, God is willing to grant to us, for the asking.

“Give us this day our daily bread”.

Why else did Jesus perform the miracle of the loaves and the fishes, other than that the Lord cares about man and never forgets the needs and limits of physical life. He loves us and considers our frame?In the wilderness, the One who loves us, when told to send the crowds away, so they could find food, objected,

If I send them away fasting to their houses, they will faint along the Way”

For Jesus loves Man, He loves us.

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A Brief Holy Week Song list…

It is Holy Week and so I wanted to share a Song list of those hymns and songs which focus on the sufferings and glory of our LORD Jesus. I do hope you can take some time to let these songs minister to your soul, and I invite any who see this, to post songs of the LORD which bless you as well. Have a blessed passover, and resurrection Sunday.

These Songs have never failed to point me in the right direction, to the Savior and his sacrifice. Several selections from Handel’s Messiah, for example “Surely He has born our griefs…” as well as “He was Despised…”, “…With His Stripes…” never fails to touch my soul deeply.

It is the gospel, and especially the cross which has been the inspiration for the most beautiful and lasting music humanity has ever produced. The gospel, after all is called “the New Song”, and it shall ring throughout the ages.

There have been some really inspired Songs written recently, which the LORd has used to minister to me over the years, such as “Didn’t He?” by Randy Matthews, and of course my dear friend Paul Clark has been used all along my way, as a minstrel of the Cross of Jesus, and I shall ever be thankful for that. “A Perfect and Complete Work…” is Paul’s musical version of Isaiah 53. “Now and Forevermore…”will also minister deeply to your soul, as all of these will, since they are based on the Word of God.

It is too easy to forget, in the stress and spiritual warfare and in the business of Life, that Jesus Died for us. He offered his life to make us acceptable unto God.

Closing Song, Pat Terry’s “Lord of All”.

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Thy Will Be Done on Earth as It is In heaven…6

“Your Will Be done on earth as it is in Heaven…”

The Lord’s prayer is truly heavenly. It directs us to our Father in Heaven, and it is to heaven that we look for and seek the blessings we need. The prayer seems designed to shape our affections and desires towards heaven. We are being taught to align our wills to heaven’s agenda as we ask for God’s kingdom and will to be done, and God’s name to be glorified above all of our own personal needs and desires.

Yet, here in the third request our minds and desires are directed towards this earth.What we are asking for is that the Will of God would be done here on earth as it is in heaven. We are desiring that the contrast between heaven and earth would be removed, and that the Worship, and free obedience towards God that characterizes heaven, would be done here on earth.

Saphir notes,

We have been so long accustomed to see ignorance and sin prevail on earth, that our expectations concerning its future are generally far from the high standard of prophecy. For so many centuries the large majority of human beings have lived without the knowledge and fear of God; Israel and the church have formed so small a portion of the human race, that the prospect of all nations serving and praising God is little realized by us. We are apt to think only of individuals saved and made meet for heaven; forgetting that God’s purpose is, that on earth, and in the form of our present physical and national life, His will should be obeyed, and His name glorified…” ( The Lord’s Prayer, Adolph Saphir)

God the Father has not given up on this earth, nor on humanity. The Day will come when all men will render to God full and loving obedience, as is meet. The Will of God is going to be done on earth, as in heaven. We are to pray for this.

We pray that we ourselves as individuals would do the Will of God in this life. Pray for a submissive and humble Spirit. Pray that the rebellion and indwelling iniquity in your own life would be subdued and mortified.

We need to pray the Will of God for families, churches and the nation we live in as well. God has a will for all of us and would have Christians bow the knee and plead that God would be glorified in the fulfillment of his will.

Saphir holds forth two examples of obedience to God’s will that we should emulate and pray that we can reflect … The Angels, and the Incarnate Son of God.

Angels ascend and descend between heaven and earth, not as mediators but as servants of God’s will. Think Jacob’s ladder.Angels are far more active on this earth than most of us could fathom, and the Bible speaks much more about them also, than many realize.

God would not have us develop a strange fascination with them, which is why they are acknowledged in the Bible but not dwelt upon. The Holy Angels delight to obey God. They have seen his face and they love and fear Him, in the purest sense of the word.

The Angels are interested in the earth, on God’s behalf and they are very interested in man. We are told that Angels rejoice over every repentant sinner, they are set as Guardians over little children, appeared to the Patriarchs and prophets. The Angels ministered to the LORD Jesus on this earth, when he was born and after he was tempted in the wilderness. Furthermore the Angels will be totally involved in the Eschaton; they will separate the wheat from the chaff, the Angels will come back with Jesus, participate in the sheep and the goats judgment , and Michael the ArchAngel will stand up for Israel in the final days.

Angels obey God, they do his will, lovingly, joyfully, unhesitatingly, they carry out his every command, both in heaven and on earth.

Saphir again;

The Angels obey God, because they see his face continually. Their obedience is implicit, but not blind. God’s authority is perfect light and love. Thus ought our obedience to be in knowledge and meditation; work is prayer acting… The obedience of Angels as we have seen is varied and comprehensive. Some watch over little children; some take charge of Believers in danger; some seem assigned to their care mighty empires and the various elements of this world. But their motive is always Love to God, their object is God’s glory… as God is their center, the utmost harmony and unity prevail among them…”(ibid)

It goes without saying that the highest manifestation of obedience on earth to the Father in Heaven, would be the Son of God, Jesus the Messiah.

Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required. Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart. ( Psalm 40:6-8)

Jesus anticipated and longed to do God’s will on earth, before He even came in the Incarnation! With the Father, He was undertaking our salvation from all eternity. The Incarnation was an act of Loving and freely granted obedience to the Father. Jesus humbled himself and took upon himself the form of a servant and even died, in order to establish God’s Will on earth.

It is impossible to describe the quality and unique character of the obedience of Jesus. None of us can fully relate, for none of us left heaven and an eternal communion with God the Father in order to become a baby, a child a teenager, to put ourselves under submission, to suffer and die under a false accusation , in order to do God’s will on earth, as it has always been in heaven.

Everything of his earthly walk was costly obedience, yet Jesus gladly offered it. He did it “for the Joy set before Him…” and out of Love for the Father, and for those whom God had given Him.

We are the vanguard of the coming new day. Imagine if the Will of God was done on earth; happily, lovingly and reverently. That day will come and for we the church, it has already began to commence. The earth will be filled with the knowledge of God as the Waters cover the sea. This earth will be the arena of God’s will, sin and death shall not prevail. Pray for the Will of God.

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Pray That the Kingdom Will come… Prayer 5

“Thy Kingdom Come…”

We, (to whom this teaching is directed), we know the inevitable future. We know that one day “The Kingdoms of this world shall become the Kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever”( Revelation 11:15) It is an absolute certainty, the Kingdom of God is the sure future, and will one day be fully manifested on earth, for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.

But Jesus instructs us to constantly pray for this to happen, in this, the basic teaching on prayer. Why must we pray for what we know is a definite certainty?

Saphir says of this request,

“(This) was the prayer of the Apostles and Martyrs in the first centuries of the church, when the hope of Christs coming was the joy and strength of believers. It has been the prayer of the faithful of all ages and countries (though their knowledge of the mystery varies in clearness). It is the expectation of the saints who are resting in Jesus, and who do not receive the crown until his appearing. It is the desire of Holy Angels, who love God and man for God’s sake. It is the day for which the Savior who sits on his heavenly throne is looking and to which He is hastening, for He is coming quickly…”

Saphir goes on to cite Romans 8, which tells us that Creation itself awaits the day of the coming of the Kingdom and the removal of the primal curse.

For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope,  Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. (Romans 8:19-21)

Saphir finally stresses that Israel according to the flesh, also awaits and prays for the Kingdom of God to come,

And can I forget the synagogue, Israel, upon whom blindness has come in part? But who are praying daily, and on every Sabbath and festival, for the Kingdom of the Messiah, for the building of the walls of Jerusalem, and for the appearing of Him who is to bring light and peace unto them and unto all nations?”

This prayer shall be fully answered and as Saphir points out, it will touch every circle from which it ascends; Creation shall be released from the curse of futility, the Saints will be raised, glorified and rewarded, Israel will be converted and re-instated to their Priestly and Evangelistic role, and the nations will stream to Jerusalem, longing to be taught of the LORD!

What are we praying for when We pray,”Thy Kingdom Come…”?

We are wanting the complete rule of God on this earth. The Kingdom of God is the rule of God. The earth is currently ruled by “the Kings of the earth and their rulers”. according to the second Psalm. This is why the nations are in such an uproar and the bulk of the people are in the grip of a vain imagination.

These “Kings” and “Rulers”(Experts) have taken counsel against the LORD and against his Christ, they hate God the Father and the LORD Jesus Christ, and are leading the multitudes away from Jesus and the Father, down to Hell.

We want the LORD’s Messiah, to come and establish his Kingdom over this earth. What we are praying for is the reign of Messiah.

We are praying for the return of Christ and for the commencement of the Millenium.

Why must we pray for it, if it is a certainty?

We are taught to pray for it, so that the very act of praying and longing for it will re-orient all of our sympathies and affections towards it. Praying for the Kingdom is another way of detaching us from this doomed Age of unrighteousness, of which we had once belonged.

This present evil world has it’s own hopes and desires for the future.

The hope of the Kingdom of man; ie progress in science, technology and the arts, entertainment, the humanistic sciences src as psychology, have given the masses the false impression that the world is on the verge of some kind of godless Utopia. It promises a much more humane, kind, understanding and non judgmental world than anything Christianity ever offered.

But we know that the sentence upon it has been passed, and that this world cannot be improved, it is doomed to fall and collapse like the statue of the man in Nebuchadnezzar’s vision. No matter how advanced man seems to be, his heart is rotten and in need of salvation, therefore the ‘Kingdom’ he has erected is doomed to fall and collapse under the weight of the judgment of Almighty God.

Praying for the Kingdom of God to come is a way of aligning ourselves with God’s future, and divorcing ourselves from this “present evil Age”.

Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ, Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father: To whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. ( Galatians 1:3-5)

Furthermore, Prayer for the Kingdom of God is personal. Why am I to pray that the Kingdom come? It implies that by nature we are outside of it. Constantly I see other areas of my life, my thoughts and passions, have not come completely under the rule of God. I want the Kingdom, personally. I want to live for God and to serve Him with my whole heart. So I pray for that rule.

How does the rule of God expand in the here and now? Wherever men humble themselves and repent towards God, the Kingdom of God expands. When I pray “Let thy Kingdom come…” I am praying for the progress of the gospel and of the Church. Oh that many more would see Jesus, hear his voice, and humbly submit to Him as King!

The Eighth Psalm is a revelation from God of the total restoration coming to the earth. Adam was supposed to be a King, a human ruler, a vice regent under God, but He fell and we know the miseries that followed.

 O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens. Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger. When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet: All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field; The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas. O Lord our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! ( Psalm 8)

Man has failed to rule humanely, over God’s earth. The Dominion God originally gave man, has been perverted, misused, and is a sad parody of what God intended.

But we await the reign of “the Son of Man”, the last Adam and second man, soon to be revealed. All Creation awaits His rule and groans for Him to come. So also does the church, that is the true church which has left this world and whom this age despises.

Even blind Israel longs for the day to come and prays for it, in her liturgies. She will discover that the Messiah that she has rejected and pierced, is God himself, who will forgive and restore her to her rightful place, and in her resurrection, will come the resurrection of the whole world.

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The Most Important Request…Prayer 4

“Hallowed be Thy Name…”

Prayer is not just a matter of cause ( our prayer) and effect(God’s answer).

True prayer is more of an alignment. We pray to align ourselves with God’s will.

God’s name will be hallowed, no matter what you or I do. It is in the plan and prefect will of God that ultimately, God’s name will be seen by all as glorious, exalted, supreme and Holy.

Why then does Jesus teach us to pray that God’s name be hallowed, when in fact God’s name shall be Hallowed, now and forever?

God wants to lead us to want, crave, desire and even require His will, for in doing so, we are brought into alignment with reality.

The Lord’s prayer is in a similar pattern to the Ten Commandments, in that it begins with a statement of sheer Grace,

“Our Father who art in Heaven…”

“I am the Lord Thy God who brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage…”

In both cases we begin with a statement of the Grace of God. What grace to be able to know God as Father and to petition heaven!

Then the Lord’s prayer is divided into two ‘tables’ of requests, just as the Ten Commandments are composed of two tables of Laws. The first table of each concerns our relationship to God, the second have to do with our human needs, or human relationships.

“Hallowed Be Thy Name…Thy Kingdom come…They Will be done”.

These are the Lord’s concerns and we are taught to pray for them first, to come into sympathy with each request, to let these desires become our deepest aspirations, and to fervently long for them.

There is no question, that God’s name shall be hallowed, that His Kingdom shall come, and that His will shall be completely accomplished on earth as it is in heaven.

The real question is , who wants this? Who longs for it, who has set their life in alignment with these things and what has the practice of praying for them done in the soul of the prayers? Praying in this manner is the very essence of “seeking things which are above” us.

What does it mean to pray that God’s name be hallowed?

We pray that God will be known as Holy first of all, in our own lives. We want to know the Holy One, to be able to fear and worship and adore God as God. Knowing God is eternal life.

The “knowledge of the Holy is understanding” according to the ninth chapter of Proverbs. We are petitioning God for that understanding of the Holy. We are asking God to show us what it means that He alone is Holy, and all that is Holy derives from Him who is above.

Has it ever occurred to you to pray about God’s name?

The name of God in scripture refers to the entire person. It is all that the person is and does and stands for. In praying “Hallowed be thy name” we are praying about the very name of God, that we would see it in the things which are Holy, such as in scripture, and in the Son of God. We want to know how to “sanctify the LORD God in our hearts”, even after forty plus years as a Christian I still want to know the name of God and to live for Him.

Furthermore we are praying that God would be known in this fallen world, and that He would be seen as Holy. What a profane and blasphemous world we live in. All that is Holy is being subjected to desecration in this toxic generation. People have no idea the thin ice they tread across as they blaspheme, and profane holy things such as sex, marriage, children, life, and the name of God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

We grieve over it and pray that men would be gripped by a holy awareness of God. In olden times there have been revivals of the Spirit of God, visitations which shook whole communities of people, revealing the sense of God, and of Holiness. I have no doubt all of this came in response to the prayers of the Saints.

People who had otherwise given God no thought whatsoever, and who lived profane ,self seeking lives, have been suddenly awakened to the reality of the living God, and of Jesus Christ, and been driven to their knees and even faces in awful repentance, under the influence of the Spirit of God.

Imagine Young people so awakened to God’s reality, that they stumbled out of dancehalls, and out into the streets looking for a church service, so that they could get right with God!

This is something of what we are praying for when we beseech God to “Hallow His name”.

This is really very much like the first commandment, “You shall have no other gods before me”. This commandment in essence contains all of the rest of the commandments. Even so “Hallowed be thy name” is really the essence of all prayer.

This particular prayer is a petition for the knowledge of God himself. It is also prayer for a deeper knowledge of Jesus Christ whom God has sent. It is to remember who God is, what He has revealed himself to be, and that he will be real to us. We hallow the name of God when we know and trust in him in all trials and against all sin and temptation.

We are praying for our own dedication and consecration to God, by praying this prayer. We are praying that God would be seen in the church, that his name would be glorified in the way we live our lives.

“Hallow” means to separate. Hallowing God’s name means we separate and exalt God above our own corrupt opinions, thoughts and desires. We want God to “sanctify us through the Truth” that we truly reflect and model the nature of God. This is something to pray seriously for.

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