Whose Permission Does God Need to Publish a Psalm Twice?

With most great literary works,
if they get published with two major sections the same,
the author, proofreader and publisher would
face much criticism for the gaffe.

So did somebody make a big mistake
for Psalms 13 & 53 to be almost identical?

Bible cloudyThe Bible is the timeless manual for human living.  It claims that its every word is inspired (2 Tim. 3:16).

Noting that God purifies His words seven times (Psa. 12:6), the King James Bible translators commissioned six committees to each process a section and then selected the best representatives from those sections to make the final edit.

So did somebody make a big mistake that Psalms 14 and 53 are almost identical?  Oh, there I go repeating myself.

It’s interesting that Internet analyses have surmised a few

Differences

David psalms1—David is credited with authoring both psalms, but they have different titles.  Psalm 14 is “to the chief musician.”  Psalm 53 is a maskil, the second of four psalms in a row to be an instructive psalm or a contemplation.  The superscription “to Mahalath” is variously interpreted as to pipings on wind instruments or to dances/choreography.

Though both psalms have just about the same number of words and so many of the same words, it  appears that they might have been sung in a different tune or style.  Maybe like “I Will Always Love You” by Whitney Houston vs. Dolly Parton.  Both classics but very different renditions!

2—The midsection of Psalm 14 plays up God delivering the righteous; Psalm 53 God’s punishment of the wicked.

3—The name of God in Psalm 14 is YHVH (the Lord, the Eternal) while Psalm 53 cites Elohim (family God).

Hardly blockbuster differences!

It’s noted that the two psalms are in two different sections of the five sections of Psalms which at one time resided in separate sections or hymnals.  So what’s wrong with wanting a beloved psalm to be handy in whichever you have in hand?

OK, I’m no Bible scholar, but my suspicion is that the biggest reason in God’s mind is:

Repetition is the best form of emphasis

If you want to impress on people how important the Ten Commandments are, proclaim them in Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5.  Jesus as the God of the Old Testament gave the same two great commandments (Deut. 6:5 and Lev. 19:18) that He later repeated in the New Testament (Matt. 22:36-40).

A smart suspicion is that something said twice in God’s book must be important and deserves special attention.

Should that make us consider why God would repeat in Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14 about clean and unclean meats?  They were to teach holiness (Lev. 11:44-45) and will that ever go out of style with God?

Both psalms begin with a hugely urgent and important issue:

bragging“The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God’”

Despite all the advanced philosophy degrees and heady arguments, those who say such things are judged by the Judge who counts as “fools.”

Let’s hope those who pronounce “God is dead” never become undertakers.  Or astronomers.  Or cosmologists.  Because God through Paul wrote “For since the creation of the world, His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse” (Rom. 1:20).

I’m simple enough to simply not want God to call me a fool without excuse.

Yet for adult Americans, “atheist” or “agnostic” jumped from 16.1% in 2007 to 22.8% in 2014 (Pew Research May 12, 2015).  How ironic and tragic that rejecting God is increasing with Millennials—even as the Millennium when Jesus Christ returns to earth looms ever nearer!  Sadly, Satan will be given power to muster the recruits he needs who are foolish enough to fight the returning Son of God!

God existCould anything be more urgent and important than for us to

Prove for ourselves that God exists

The Faith Chapter says “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is …” (Heb. 11:6).

How can we be a Christian without believing Jesus Christ is?  A son or daughter of God without believing the Father is?

I recommend this free color booklet
[https://www.ucg.org/bible-study-tools/booklets/lifes-ultimate-question-does-god-exist].

Jesus said we must live by every word of God (Matt. 4:4).  Even repeated ones.  Great songs have great choruses.  Whose permission does God need to publish a great psalm twice!

Let’s read Psalm 14 and respond.  Let’s read Psalm 53 and respond!

world-37-blue

Lessons from Fasts That God Answered Fast

Jesus said His people will fast regularly
to humble themselves and seek God’s will and direction.
We can learn valuable lessons from
studying fasts in the Bible that God answered quickly.

   When asking isn’t working, the power of asking in humility with fasting (Judg. 20:18-28)

During civil war between Benjamin and the other tribes of Israel, Israel asked God which of them should go up first to battle Benjamin.   The Lord said “Judah” and Israel lost 22,000 men.   You’d think they should have asked whether they should go up! Next Israel asked if they should again draw near to battle Benjamin. The Lord said “Go up against him” and they suffered another 18,000 loss!

Finally Israel came to the house of God and wept and fasted.  Phinehas this time very humbly asked if they should go battle Benjamin—or should they cease. They wouldn’t be able to take much more massacre from the left-handed slingers! And the Lord said “Go up, for tomorrow I will deliver them into your hand.”

Lesson: We must not presume and expect God to rubber-stamp what we have already decided is the solution. We must humble ourselves to seek God’s will.

   When you just don’t know what to do (2 Chron. 20:1-30)

When Judah was invaded by a great multitude, Jehoshaphat jumped in the right direction—he feared! So he “set himself to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah.”

First Judah’s king reminded God who He is and what He promised. God hadn’t forgotten. We forget! The United States was settled by primarily the tribe of Manassah which means “forgetful.” Today we have forgotten God and have been speedily kicking Him out of public life.

“O our God, will You not judge them? For we have no power against this great multitude that is coming against us; nor do we know what to do.”

Lesson: Jehoshaphat really knew what to do: “but our eyes are upon You.” The battle was God’s—not theirs! They didn’t need to fight in this battle!   When God said to “position yourselves,” they knew that the best position is on your knees fasting! That’s the way to “stand still and see the salvation of the Lord.” Yes, maybe a figurative anatomical challenge, but stand on your knees!

But Judah also did their part in addition to fasting. Showing 20:20 vision, they rose early and went out as God commanded.

They sent their Levitical choir out ahead of the army.  And something that really should encourage any choir, it was when they began to sing and praise that the Lord set ambushes and defeated the invaders.

How reminiscent of the dedication of Solomon’s temple. The moment the glory of the Lord filled the temple wasn’t during Solomon’s speech but when “the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the Lord” (2 Chron. 5:13-14). A choir would hope to achieve such unity on the first note!

Obviously God would enjoy you including singing and praising in your fast—even if neighbors might not agree!

   The church in Antioch sent off Saul and Barnabus after fasting and prayer (Acts 13:3)

Lesson: Fasting is vital at key junctures in doing the Work of God and taking the gospel of the Kingdom into all the world (Matt. 24:14). Individually we should fast about how we can best serve the Work of God.

These are some of the inspiring examples in the Bible about fasts that God responded to quickly. He knows how hard it is to go without food and drink. “He will not forget how hard you have worked for him and how you have shown your love to him” (Heb. 6:10 New Living Translation).  Why fast?  To get

Our eyes on God

“Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; you shall cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am’” (Isa. 58:9).

world-37-gold

More Ways to Give God Some of the Glory Due His Name

So far we’ve looked at:
♥  Reading the Psalms
♥  Visualizing God on His heavenly throne
♥  Appreciating  how creation  glorifies our Creator
♥  Keeping God’s Holy Days

We can’t  give God the  glory due His name (Psa. 29:2) but we should try!  Here are some more ways:

♥  Hallow God’s name

Jesus instructed in His model prayer that our prayers should begin with hallowing  God’s name (Matt. 6:9).  An Elder friend recommends leading off with “I love you, Father!”  I like to continue with “I love Jesus Christ, your Son!  I love your Church!  I love your Work!  I love your Bible!  I love your way!  And please give me more of your love!”

Our daily lives should begin this way too—Days are better  when they begin with thanking God for a new day (Psa. 55:17).  Of course, David says it’s good to also pray daily at noon and evening.

magnifying glassDavid said “Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together” (Psa. 34:3).  Some Bibles have supplementary material giving two or more pages of names, titles and offices for Jesus Christ.  Beware the “sacred name” heresy—God has many names.  Think YHVH Ropha as you pray about your long list of people needing healing.  Think Elohim and be grateful God is calling you to His Family.  Think Jesus Christ who is your Savior.  Take time to learn God’s many names, titles and offices.  My favorite is to thank God daily that the supreme power of the universe is good, giving, kind—and glorious!

♥  Keep God’s commandments

We say we love God.  The first four commandments are how God says we actually live love to Him.   Are we really keeping them?  “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments” (1 John 5:3).

♥  Give God the respect due His name

Moses strike rockNot doing this cost Moses the physical Promised Land (Num. 20:8-12).  All the complainers finally got to him so that he struck the rock twice instead of just speaking to it like he did the last time.  Bad as that was, then he shouted “Hear now, you rebels!  Must we bring water for you out of this rock?”  Actually Moses and Aaron were the real rebels!  Why does it usually turn out that we accuse when we’re guilty of the same!  Because all sin is common to man and one of the most common  is accusing!

God chastised Moses severely “Because you did not believe Me, to hallow Me in the eyes of the children of Israel.”  Perhaps Moses and Aaron lapsed into thinking their closeness to God and being His leaders gave them some license.  Yet God holds His leaders to stricter accountability (James 3:1).  And we are never too old to be tested.

Yet God is so merciful.  God still brought forth the water they needed.  Moses will still be in the better Promised Land.

♥  Choose good music and entertainment

“I will praise the name of God with a song” (Psa. 69:30).

I love the “Today” song by John Denver which has the astute line:  “You’ll know who I am by the songs that I sing.”  And by what we read and by movies we watch.  The rating we should be concerned with is God’s!  Are we busy decrying the sex and violence on our TV!

Check God’s advice in Eph. 5:18-19 and Col. 3:16-17.  Good spiritual songs can  provide not only beautiful music to inspire us but beautiful thoughts that point us to honoring God.

♥  Honor Jesus Christ

prayingThe Father has given His Son “the name which is above every name.”  At that name every knee, no matter how skinned or even broken it has to suffer, will bow to Him.  “Every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father” (Php. 2:9-11)

♥  The biggest and most important way by far is how we live

Every parent would say that the best way for his kids to honor them is to live the good values the parent strove to teach them.

The best way to give God some of the glory due His name is to do what He says!  “Why call you me Lord, Lord, and do not the things I say” (Luke 6:46).

“Blessed be the Lord God, the God of Israel, who only does wondrous things!  And blessed be His glorious name forever!  And let the whole earth be filled with His glory!” (Ps. 72:18-19).

Here’s the most amazing part of all the glorying:  At His last prayer with His disciples before His suffering and crucifixion at this very time of year in 31 A.D., Jesus said, “And the glory which You [the Father] gave Me, I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one” (John 17:22).

To be part of “them” is reason enough to give God some of the glory due His name!

world-37-red

What More Power Are We Waiting for?

Are you wishing you had more power to change a bad habit?
More power to overcome a sin?
More power to achieve a goal?

quantum-leap-2Through God we can have all the power we need to change, overcome or achieve—and now, not tomorrow.

♥  Hopefully God the Father is calling you (John 6:44).  God’s calling is individual and flawlessly vetted.  He calls each person at the best time for them to overcome and make it into His God Family.    This is your best time!  We must choose and be faithful (Rev. 17:14).  If God is calling us now, what a tragedy if we are limiting Him.

♥  Israel limited the Holy One of Israel (Psa. 78:41).  One translation says “pained.”  It grieved God that Israel didn’t have the heart in them to change, overcome and achieve (Deut. 5:29).   What a difference when a child wants to please a parent.  Make them proud.  Make them delighted.  How much more likely is that child to change, overcome and achieve!

Verse 42 says the way that Israel limited God was by not remembering His power.  Ironically, it’s God’s power—the Holy Spirit—which brings all things to remembrance (John 14:26)!

Passover♥  At Passover Sunday night we were forgiven of all sin as we renewed our commitment by taking the cup and bread symbolizing the shed blood and broken body of Jesus Christ our Savior.  We have that forgiveness not just once a year but at any time we ask in true repentance for the Father to apply Christ’s sacrifice to our sins.   It’s okay if you want to stop reading for a few minutes …

♥  The Father looks at us but instead of our bad habits or sins, He sees the image of His Son living in us.  “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven … whose sin is covered … to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity” (Psa. 32:1-2).

The power of forgiveness cannot be minimized.  But it doesn’t change our character.  God wants children who actually become god-like with no bad habits or sin.  So after Passover comes the Seven Days of Unleavened Bread picturing God actually leading us out of sin (this year April 11 through 17).

♥  The One who calls us “friend” (John 15:14-15) is the Son of God!  Talk about friends in high places!  In these verses He says to be His friend we must do as He commands.  Obedience is power.  Obedience is visionary.  God gives His Holy Spirit to those who obey Him (Acts 5:32).

♥  The Holy Spirit is God’s power (Acts 1:8).  As a whole Israel did not have God’s Holy Spirit.   If you do, and God the Father and Jesus Christ are dwelling with you or living in you (John 14:17) through the Holy Spirit, you have all the power you need to change, overcome and achieve.  There is no greater power in existence for you to wait for!

toolbox♥  You can take advantage of the Christian toolbox (prayer, study, meditation and fasting) so you stay close to God and choose not to sin.  If you run into something that it seems like you can’t cast out, this is time for fasting and prayer to seek extra godly help (Mark 9:29).

♥  We can ask for the Holy Spirit fruit of self-control.  What will be the sure response?  “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” (Luke 11:13).   Do you think His self-control is not enough for your habit or sin?  That somehow you are the exception, you’re so bad?  Too much for God?

♥  Are we struggling to choose the right action because we really want to do the wrong action!  We can ask for the mind of Christ to bring every thought into subjection to obedience to Him (2 Cor. 10:5).  We can ask God to change our thinking to not desire sin.  We want His laws written in our hearts and minds!  Are we thinking that God isn’t powerful enough to change our desires when we are desiring Him to?

On the Last Day of Unleavened Bread, this year April 17, we remember how God displayed His miraculous power:
Red Sea1.  It was on a last Day of UB that God parted the Red Sea to free Israel from Egypt which pictured sin.
2.  Forty years later on the last DOUB, God brought the walls of Jericho a-tumbling down to usher Israel into the Promised Land.
3.  And sometime during UB, indicated by Lot offering the angels a feast of unleavened bread (Lev. 19:3), God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.

So the Days of Unleavened Bread picture

The complete and total victory over sin

“Now to Him  who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to  the power that works in us” (Eph. 3:20).  Are we limiting God by requests and thoughts of doubt?  By not even thinking or asking?

Since the Holy Spirit is the greatest power in existence, what more power are we waiting on?  Why put off for even a day?  Why coast until just before you think Christ will return, O foolish virgin!

Through God

we have all the power we need to change, overcome and achieve.  With God the Father and Jesus Christ our Unleavened Bread living in us through the supreme power of the Holy Spirit, we can have victory NOW.

world-37-red  sting

What About Tonight Is There to Be Much Observed?

pink moonIs the Pink Moon tonight the reason to get so excited?
It’s not really pink. 
It’s called that color because this is the time of year
when Pink Moss blooms.

Jupiter is at its best and brightest because of
being near tonight’s full moon.

Ex. 12:41-42 calls this The Night to Be Much Observed (or Much Remembered) and directs that all the children of Israel observe it throughout their generations.  As spiritual Israel (Gal. 6:16), I’ll be happily doing that.

The full moon is exciting and plays a big part in it.

The night before, the death angel passed over the Israelites at midnight but slew all the firstborn males of Egypt.  Israel hunkered down in their homes all night as directed.  The next day they spoiled the Egyptians, receiving their due wages from all their years of slavery.  During the daylight all three million of them gathered with excitement in Goshen.

Then this momentous night, in about the year 1447 B.C., the released Israelites began their journey out of Egypt which pictures sin.  Sundown this night begins the Seven Days of Unleavened Bread, with leaven picturing sin.  One could get the idea that God doesn’t want His children making light of sin.

The full moon that night helped light their way.  Who needed an EverReady in hand with such a celestial flashlight!  Better than the Pink Moon tonight, we have

The Light of the World

to lead us on our journey out of sin.

This night Christians around the world are meeting together to share a meal and remember how the Lord brought Israel out of Egypt, but more importantly, to look to Jesus Christ the Unleavened Bread of Life to lead us to the Promised Land of eternal life.

Many like to go around the table and have each participant share how God called them to spiritual freedom.

Exodus says Israel walked out 430 years to the night from an event unspecified.  It’s thought to be God’s covenant with Abraham in Gen. 15.  God pointed him not to the moon but to the stars and promised him more descendants than those.  Abraham proved faithful and became  Father of the faithful.  By God’s grace that’s where we come in … to march out!

Israel went out triumphantly “with a high hand.”  God’s people are privileged to “much observe” this night with joy and gladness!

world-37-red

Tonight We “Proclaim the Lord’s Death Till He Comes”

As Christians we love to talk and sing about proclaiming God’s glory and holiness.  Well,  God says “The feasts of the Lord, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, these are My feasts” (Lev. 23:2).

When I first heard about these feasts in 1969 when I was 19, I couldn’t believe that I’d been going to church my whole life and never heard anything about them.   God’s feasts?  Holy convocations?  Wow!   I wanted to keep them!

Passover service tonight, April 9

passoverwill be my 47th.  On this night back about 1447 B.C. the death angel passed over Israelite homes in Goshen that had blood smeared on the top and sides of the doors.  That prefigured this night in 31 A.D. when Jesus Christ shed His blood for sin.  For my sin.   And I hope you can see how you fit into that.

Tonight we do as Paul commanded and “proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes” (1 Cor. 11:26).  Tonight we renew our commitment to God.

Tonight’s Passover is the first step in God’s Holy Day Plan.  The Sabbath and Annual Sabbaths picture and teach how the Father and Jesus Christ are reproducing themselves and building the Family—and they show the timing of how it will be accomplished.

HD booklet.jFree on the Internet:  [https://www.ucg.org/bible-study-tools/booklets/gods-holy-day-plan-the-promise-of-hope-for-all-mankind].

A huge way to give God some of the glory due His name (Psa. 29:2) is to keep His Sabbaths and Holy Days.

Please just start keeping them.  Joy awaits you.

world-37-gold