“They Fell on their Faces” #745

While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!” And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their faces and were greatly afraid. (Matthew 17:5–6, NKJV)

Acknowledging the presence of God, Peter, James and John fell on their faces in fear when the Father spoke from the cloud. We too easily forget we are in the presence of God every minute of every day. Additionally, worship services have become so casual and careless in some churches that there is a complete failure to regard the presence of Almighty God. Worship has become about the worshipers instead of the One who is worshiped. We are not advocating falling on our faces as the preferred posture of piety. We are advocating godly fear before the Lord (Matt. 10:28). Fellow Christian, let us present ourselves before the Lord God with humble demeanor and reverent conduct, in our worship of Him and in our daily activities of life. “Let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear” (Heb. 12:28).

“A Convenient Time” #744

Now as he reasoned about righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and answered, “Go away for now; when I have a convenient time I will call for you.” (Acts 24:25, NKJV)

The convenient time sought by Governor Felix did not come. His opportune time was an attempt to secure a bribe for Paul’s release (Acts 24:26). The irony is rich. The innocent man – Paul – remained bound in prison for two years, while the guilty man – Felix – remained imprisoned by his sin. You seen, when we are confronted with the truth of the gospel, looking for a more favorable time to believe it and obey it betrays a lack of faith. Putting off obeying the Lord does not produce good fruit. Now is the opportune time; now is the day of salvation (2 Cor. 6:2). God is ready to save you and relieve you of your burdens of sorrow and sin. Today is the right time to put the Lord first, to do His will and to live in the freedom from sin He only gives (Acts 4:12).

“I Will Declare My Iniquity” #743

17  For I am ready to fall, and my sorrow is continually before me. 18  For I will declare my iniquity; I will be in anguish over my sin. (Psalm 38:17–18, NKJV)

The sweet psalmist was broken in body and spirit because of his sins (Psa. 38:3, 9-10). His sorrow was deep as he contemplated the damage sin had done. His family was estranged; his enemies were emboldened. Worst of all, God’s wrath was upon him. With a repentant heart he confesses his sins and the anguish they have caused. God alone was his source of hope and relief. You see, sin is viewed far too lightly by far too many. It ravages the soul, destroying lives now and eternally. Yet, in God there is hope. We must take sin seriously. If you are struggling with sin, turn back to God with a heart full of sorrow and repentance. He is your salvation. “Do not forsake me, O Lord; O my God, be not far from me! Make haste to help me, O Lord, my salvation!” (Psa. 38:21-22)

Never Moved #742

Lord, who may abide in Your tabernacle? Who may dwell in Your holy hill? … 5  “He who does not put out his money at usury, Nor does he take a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things shall never be moved.” (Psalm 15:1, 5, NKJV)

A summary assurance is given at the conclusion of this psalm. It is true that not everyone will abide with God. Those who love the world will not (1 Jno. 2:15-17). Those who complain against His word will not (Jno. 6:60-66). Those who prefer the “cards, riches and pleasures of this life” rather than the word of God will not (Lk. 8:14). However, the sweet psalmist is convinced the person who does the things advised in this psalm will never be moved away from God’s constant provisions and abiding care. Because his character and conduct is true, the Lord God will be his Sustainer as he abides in His tent, his Protector as he dwells in God’s holy fortress. The one who does evil has no such pledge; His every bulwark shall fail. But, the righteous “boldly say: The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” (Heb. 13:6). The choice is yours today and every day. You may abide in God’s blessed fellowship by faithfully doing His will (Jas. 1:21-25).

Mercy and Justice #741

Lord, who may abide in Your tabernacle? Who may dwell in Your holy hill? … 5  “He who does not put out his money at usury, Nor does he take a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things shall never be moved.” (Psalm 15:1, 5, NKJV)

The righteous person’s values are as unshakable as is his devotion to have fellowship with the Lord God. He is compassionate, not covetous, and he honors justice. Unlike the modern sense of exorbitant interest, usury here is simply interest; the sum of money charged for a loan. The law of Moses prohibited charging interest to a brother and the poor among them (Exo. 22:25; Deut. 23:19-20). The one who abides in God’s presence lends without expectation of return (cf. Lk. 14:11-14). Neither does he profit at the expense of justice for the innocent. And so, mercy and justice are among the values recognized by God as worthy of His presence. In a world driven by greedy ambition, be careful to “do justly, love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8).

His Word is His Bond #740

Lord, who may abide in Your tabernacle? Who may dwell in Your holy hill? … 4  In whose eyes a vile person is despised, but he honors those who fear the Lord; He who swears to his own hurt and does not change; (Psalm 15:1, 4, NKJV)

There was a time when it was said, “a man’s word is his bond.” This still holds true for the righteous person who dwells in the presence of the Holy One. Even when he discovers that to which he gave his word damages him in some way, he continues to keep his word. The honor of fulfilling one’s word is a matter of personal integrity before God and before men. The honesty of our words does not depend on whether they help us or harm us, but upon the character of our heart. God, who knows our hearts, honors honest-hearted people with the joys of His presence.

The Measure of a Person #739

Lord, who may abide in Your tabernacle? Who may dwell in Your holy hill? … 4  In whose eyes a vile person is despised, but he honors those who fear the Lord; He who swears to his own hurt and does not change; (Psalm 15:1, 4, NKJV)

As we learn “who may abide” in the restful care and fellowship of the Lord, verse 4 teaches us it is the person who hates evil and loves good (Amos 5:14-15). His moral standard is based on reverence for God and disdain for what is vile. The regard he has for others is not based on whether they are rich or poor, prince or pauper. He exults in those who honor God while he refuses to respect what is morally corrupt. Sin is despicable to him; he is repulsed by what is vile (just as God is, Psa. 11:5). And, like God, he respects those who hold the Almighty in reverential awe. A good measure of our honor for what is good is the degree to which we also despise what is wicked in God’s sight. In a world that called evil good and good evil, God knows the difference (Isa. 5:20). So does the person whom He allows to abide with Him.