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On Becoming Seventy! A Few Reflections (Part 3 of 7) V=VICTORY!

Groundhogs’ Day. February 2nd. That’s my birthday! Now, I think that Groundhogs’ Day ought to be declared a national holiday. This furry creature comes out of its comfortable underground home to prognosticate about the next six weeks of weather — Surely that deserves to be honored as a national holiday!

But it’s also my birthday. My 70th birthday. And as it approaches, I want to think about a couple of issues before it is “here.”

We’ve thought about the letter “S” (survival!). We’ve also thought about the letter “E” (for engagement).  I’m at a bit of a loss when it comes to the letter “V.” There is the word verisimilitude which means “the appearance or semblance of truth; likelihood; probability: The play lacked verisimilitude.” But that one doesn’t work. Other “V” words may fit. Veracity — I try to be honest in my dealings with others. Vivacious? Hmmm. Not so much.

I know! How about the word VICTORIOUS?! Seventy years have brought me many victories because of the Lord. I know that I am “more than a conqueror” though Him who loved me (Romans 8:37). I’ve had a few tennis and table tennis victories — and I’ve got a couple of trophies gathering dust to prove it.

How about in life? I thank the Lord for the VICTORIES of a son and a daughter who love the Lord, have married well, and have provided Linda and me with seven beautiful grandchildren!

I certainly believe I have been VICTORIOUS in love. Linda and I will celebrate our 49th wedding anniversary this coming June.

Yes. VICTORIOUS! We read in I Corinthians 15:57- “But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” The Psalmist reminds us in Psalm 44:4- “It was not by their sword that they won the land, nor did their arm bring them victory; it was your right hand, your arm, and the light of your face, for you loved them.” He also tells us that “the Lord takes delight in his people; he crowns the humble with victory (149:4). John writes that “everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.”

Pray with me? “Lord of VICTORY, help me to invest my days and years into worthwhile errands for You. Give me VICTORY, Lord, in those things that really count. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”

 

 
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Posted by on January 29, 2020 in 70th birthday

 

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Getting to Know . . . I Samuel! (23:1-6) Revelation, Fear, and Victory!

Wouldn’t it be great if you could inquire of the Lord — and He would answer you directly? David learns of the Philistine’s attacking the people of Keilah and looting their threshing floors. David asks the Lord, “Shall I go and attack these Philistines?”

The Lord clearly responds, “Go, attack the Philistines and save Keilah.” (vv. 1-2).

But David’s men are fearful. They say, “Here in Judah we are afraid. How much more, then, if we go to Keilah against the Philistine forces!” (v. 3). Apparently they had not heard the Lord’s voice in telling them to attack the Philistines.

David condescends to his men and inquires a second time of the Lord. The Lord repeats His command: “Go down to Keilah, for I am going to give the Philistines into your hand.” (v. 4).

David and his men obey, fight the Philistines, inflict heavy losses on them, and save the people of Keilah (v. 5). Obeying the Lord is always the right choice!

But how did David know what to do?  [I’ve used several commentaries to help with the rest of this post]. We are  told parenthetically: “Now Abiathar son of Ahimelek had brought the ephod down with him when he fled to David at Keilah.” (v. 6). One commentator says that in his fright and flight Abiathar came down with the ephod in his hand. Not the linen ephod on his back which the priests in common wore, but the ephod with the Urim and Thummim in his hand. It is likely that this wasn’t just any ephod; this was the ephod of the High Priest, which had the breastplate of judgment (Exodus 28:15) attached to it (Exodus 28:28). The breastplate had in it a pouch with two stones, known as the Urim and Thummim (Exodus 28:30). When David inquired of the LORD, he probably asked Abiathar to use the Urim and Thummim.

How did the priest use the Urim and Thummim to inquire of the LORD? The names Urim and Thummim mean “Lights and Perfections.” We aren’t sure what they were or how they were used. Most think they were a pair of stones, one light and another dark, and each stone indicated a “yes” or “no” from God. The idea is that High Priest would ask God a question that could be answered with a “yes” or a “no,” reach into the breastplate, and pull out the stone indicating God’s answer. This ephod, with the Urim and Thummim, was more helpful to David than a thousand soldiers, because it helped him discern the will of God.

Many Christians today would consider the Urim and Thummim as crude tools of discernment — sort of an Old Testament “Magic 8-Ball.” In fact, using the Urim and Thummim was superior to the tools many Christians today use: relying purely on feeling, or on outward appearances, or simply using no discernment at all. The key to the effectiveness of the Urim and Thummim was that God’s Word gave them. In seeking God through the Urim and Thummim, one was really going back to God’s Word for guidance, because it was the word of God that commanded their place and allowed their use. Today, if we have the same focus on God’s Word, He will guide us also. One old preacher was asked to explain the Urim and Thummim. He said, “Well, this is how I understand it. When I need to know God’s will, I get out my Bible and I do a lot of usin’ and thummin’ through my Bible, and God always speaks to me.” More Christians would know God’s will if they did more usin’ and thummin’!

“Go, and attack the Philistines, and save Keliah!” By all outward appearance, this was a crazy thing to do. First, David had 400 men whose had thin resumes and bad credit reports (everyone who was in distress, everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was discontented gathered to him, 1 Samuel 22:2); not exactly a regular army! Second, David had enough trouble with Saul, and he didn’t need to add trouble from the Philistines – one enemy is usually enough! Third, this would bring David wide open out before King Saul, and expose him to that enemy also. This was a dangerous course of action!

Then why do it at all? David had two great reasons: the command of God, and the need of the people. David was willing to spend himself, to endanger himself, so that he obey the command of God, and meet the need of the people.

 
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Posted by on December 15, 2018 in I Samuel 23

 

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Getting to Know . . . I Samuel! (17:41-58) Got any giants?

David “approaches” Goliath. We then read that Goliath came closer and closer to David. Goliath despises David because he is a youth, healthy and handsome (v. 42). Maybe Goliath was old, sickly, and ugly, but he is outraged that this “dog” has come against him “with sticks”! He then curses David by his gods and says, “Come here and I’ll give your flesh to the birds of the sky and the wild beasts!” (v. 44).

David declares to him that his coming against David with a sword, spear, and javelin is no match for one who comes “in the name of the Lord of Armies, the God of Israel — that you have defiled” (v. 45). David then details how the battle will go — (1) “The Lord will hand you over to me”; (2) “I’ll strike you down”; (3) “I’ll remove your head”; (4) “I’ll give the corpses of the Philistine camp to the birds of the sky and the wild creatures of the earth.” He then says, “Then all the world will know that Israel has a God” (v. 46). And, he says, “this whole assembly will know that it is not by sword or by spear that the Lord saves, for the battle is the Lord’s. He will hand you over to us” (v. 47).

David ran to attack Goliath. One stone, delivered by the sling, did it! David killed the Philistine with a sling and a stone — no sword required! David used Goliath’s own sword to finish the job, cutting off his head. The Philistine army is routed by Israel. (vv. 48-51).

After Israel plundered the Philistine camps, David brought Goliath’s head to Jerusalem and put his weapons in his own tent. Saul inquires about David’s family. Abner brings David, Goliath’s head in hand, to Saul.

Some takeaways for me:
1. I need to realize that “the battle is the Lord’s.” Any battle. This battle. Whatever battle I’m facing — it is the Lord’s!
2. Why we do things is as important as that we do things. For David, it is a godly outrage that Israel’s God has been defiled.
3. Although it only took the one stone to fell Goliath, David had taken five (smooth) stones when he was preparing for battle. Perhaps this suggests a humble assessment of his own skill, but the Lord gave him the victory with the first stone.
4. I’m not involved in literally taking down any 9’9” tall warriors, but my giants are nonetheless real. And I need the Lord’s strength to do the Lord’s work!

 
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Posted by on December 7, 2018 in I Samuel 17

 

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Psalms of the Salter: Some Thoughts on Really Living for the Lord (Psalm 60)

Psalm 60

For the director of music. To the tune of “The Lily screen-shot-2016-09-07-at-6-28-15-amof the Covenant.” A miktam of David. For teaching. When he fought Aram Naharaim and Aram Zobah, and when Joab returned and struck down twelve thousand Edomites in the Valley of Salt.

You have rejected us, God, and burst upon us;
    you have been angry—now restore us!
You have shaken the land and torn it open;
    mend its fractures, for it is quaking.
3 You have shown your people desperate times;
    you have given us wine that makes us stagger.
But for those who fear you, you have raised a banner
   to be unfurled against the bow.

Save us and help us with your right hand,
    that those you love may be delivered.
God has spoken from his sanctuary:
    “In triumph I will parcel out Shechem
    and measure off the Valley of Sukkoth.
Gilead is mine, and Manasseh is mine;
    Ephraim is my helmet,
    Judah is my scepter.
Moab is my washbasin,
    on Edom I toss my sandal;
    over Philistia I shout in triumph.”

Who will bring me to the fortified city?
    Who will lead me to Edom?
10 Is it not you, God, you who have now rejected us
    and no longer go out with our armies?
11 Give us aid against the enemy,
    for human help is worthless.
12 With God we will gain the victory,
    and he will trample down our enemies.

 
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Posted by on November 7, 2016 in desperation

 

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Psalms of the Salter: Some Thoughts on Really Living for the Lord (Psalm 21)

Psalm 21
For the director of music. A psalm of David.Screen Shot 2016-07-26 at 6.19.48 AM

1 The king rejoices in your strength, Lord.
How great is his joy in the victories you give!

2 You have granted him his heart’s desire
and have not withheld the request of his lips.[b]
3 You came to greet him with rich blessings
and placed a crown of pure gold on his head.
4 He asked you for life, and you gave it to him—
length of days, for ever and ever.
5 Through the victories you gave, his glory is great;
you have bestowed on him splendor and majesty.
6 Surely you have granted him unending blessings
and made him glad with the joy of your presence.
7 For the king trusts in the Lord;
through the unfailing love of the Most High
he will not be shaken.

8 Your hand will lay hold on all your enemies;
your right hand will seize your foes.
9 When you appear for battle,
you will burn them up as in a blazing furnace.
The Lord will swallow them up in his wrath,
and his fire will consume them.
10 You will destroy their descendants from the earth,
their posterity from mankind.
11 Though they plot evil against you
and devise wicked schemes, they cannot succeed.
12 You will make them turn their backs
when you aim at them with drawn bow.

13 Be exalted in your strength, Lord;
we will sing and praise your might.

 
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Posted by on August 20, 2016 in Psalm 21

 

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Psalms of the Salter: Some Thoughts on Really Living for the Lord (Psalm 20)

Psalm 20

For the director of music. A psalm of David.Screen Shot 2016-07-25 at 6.46.02 AM

May the Lord answer you when you are in distress;
    may the name of the God of Jacob protect you.
May he send you help from the sanctuary
    and grant you support from Zion.
May he remember all your sacrifices
    and accept your burnt offerings.[b]
May he give you the desire of your heart
    and make all your plans succeed.
May we shout for joy over your victory
    and lift up our banners in the name of our God.

May the Lord grant all your requests.

Now this I know:
    The Lord gives victory to his anointed.
He answers him from his heavenly sanctuary
    with the victorious power of his right hand.
Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
    but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.
They are brought to their knees and fall,
    but we rise up and stand firm.
Lord, give victory to the king!
    Answer us when we call!

 
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Posted by on August 18, 2016 in Psalm 20

 

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Psalms of the Salter: Some Thoughts on Really Living for the Lord (Psalm 9)

Psalm 9

For the director of music. To the tune of “The Death of the Son.” A psalm of David.

I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart;Screen Shot 2016-07-15 at 6.55.40 AM
    I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.
I will be glad and rejoice in you;
    I will sing the praises of your name, O Most High.

My enemies turn back;
    they stumble and perish before you.
For you have upheld my right and my cause,
    sitting enthroned as the righteous judge.
You have rebuked the nations and destroyed the wicked;
    you have blotted out their name for ever and ever.
Endless ruin has overtaken my enemies,
    you have uprooted their cities;
    even the memory of them has perished.

The Lord reigns forever;
    he has established his throne for judgment.
He rules the world in righteousness
    and judges the peoples with equity.
The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed,
    a stronghold in times of trouble.
10 Those who know your name trust in you,
    for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.

11 Sing the praises of the Lord, enthroned in Zion;
    proclaim among the nations what he has done.
12 For he who avenges blood remembers;
    he does not ignore the cries of the afflicted.

13 Lord, see how my enemies persecute me!
    Have mercy and lift me up from the gates of death,
14 that I may declare your praises
    in the gates of Daughter Zion,
    and there rejoice in your salvation.

15 The nations have fallen into the pit they have dug;
    their feet are caught in the net they have hidden.
16 The Lord is known by his acts of justice;
    the wicked are ensnared by the work of their hands.
17 The wicked go down to the realm of the dead,
    all the nations that forget God.
18 But God will never forget the needy;
    the hope of the afflicted will never perish.

19 Arise, Lord, do not let mortals triumph;
    let the nations be judged in your presence.
20 Strike them with terror, Lord;
    let the nations know they are only mortal.

 
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Posted by on July 27, 2016 in Psalm 9

 

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Psalms of My Life (Psalm 108)

Psalm 108

A song. A psalm of David.Screen Shot 2015-04-17 at 5.59.10 AM

My heart, O God, is steadfast;
    I will sing and make music with all my soul.
Awake, harp and lyre!
    I will awaken the dawn.
I will praise you, Lord, among the nations;
    I will sing of you among the peoples.
For great is your love, higher than the heavens;
    your faithfulness reaches to the skies.
Be exalted, O God, above the heavens;
    let your glory be over all the earth.

Save us and help us with your right hand,
    that those you love may be delivered.
God has spoken from his sanctuary:
    “In triumph I will parcel out Shechem
    and measure off the Valley of Sukkoth.
Gilead is mine, Manasseh is mine;
    Ephraim is my helmet,
    Judah is my scepter.
Moab is my washbasin,
    on Edom I toss my sandal;
    over Philistia I shout in triumph.”Screen Shot 2015-04-17 at 6.00.46 AM

10 Who will bring me to the fortified city?
    Who will lead me to Edom?
11 Is it not you, God, you who have rejected us
    and no longer go out with our armies?
12 Give us aid against the enemy,
    for human help is worthless.
13 With God we will gain the victory,
    and he will trample down our enemies.

 
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Posted by on August 12, 2015 in the book of Psalms

 

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Psalms of My Life (Psalm 20)

Psalm 20[a]

For the director of music. A psalm of David.Screen Shot 2015-01-01 at 7.45.45 AM

May the Lord answer you when you are in distress;
    may the name of the God of Jacob protect you.
May he send you help from the sanctuary
    and grant you support from Zion.
May he remember all your sacrifices
    and accept your burnt offerings.[b]
May he give you the desire of your heart
    and make all your plans succeed.
May we shout for joy over your victory
    and lift up our banners in the name of our God.

May the Lord grant all your requests.

Now this I know:
    The Lord gives victory to his anointed.
He answers him from his heavenly sanctuary
    with the victorious power of his right hand.
Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
    but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.
They are brought to their knees and fall,
    but we rise up and stand firm.
Lord, give victory to the king!
    Answer us when we call!

 
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Posted by on February 5, 2015 in the book of Psalms

 

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Psalms of My Life (Psalm 18, conclusion)

Psalm 18[a]

For the director of music. Of David the servant of the Lord. He sang to the Lord the words of this song when the Lord delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul. He said:

I love you, Lord, my strength.Screen Shot 2014-12-30 at 7.14.31 AM

The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
    my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,
    my shield[b] and the horn[c] of my salvation, my stronghold.

I called to the Lord, who is worthy of praise,
    and I have been saved from my enemies.
The cords of death entangled me;
    the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me.
The cords of the grave coiled around me;
    the snares of death confronted me.

In my distress I called to the Lord;
    I cried to my God for help.
From his temple he heard my voice;
    my cry came before him, into his ears.
The earth trembled and quaked,
    and the foundations of the mountains shook;
    they trembled because he was angry.
Smoke rose from his nostrils;
    consuming fire came from his mouth,
    burning coals blazed out of it.
He parted the heavens and came down;
    dark clouds were under his feet.Screen Shot 2014-12-30 at 7.17.09 AM
10 He mounted the cherubim and flew;
    he soared on the wings of the wind.
11 He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him—
    the dark rain clouds of the sky.
12 Out of the brightness of his presence clouds advanced,
    with hailstones and bolts of lightning.
13 The Lord thundered from heaven;
    the voice of the Most High resounded.[d]
14 He shot his arrows and scattered the enemy,
    with great bolts of lightning he routed them.
15 The valleys of the sea were exposed
    and the foundations of the earth laid bare
at your rebuke, Lord,
    at the blast of breath from your nostrils.

16 He reached down from on high and took hold of me;
    he drew me out of deep waters.
17 He rescued me from my powerful enemy,
    from my foes, who were too strong for me.
18 They confronted me in the day of my disaster,
    but the Lord was my support.
19 He brought me out into a spacious place;
    he rescued me because he delighted in me.

20 The Lord has dealt with me according to my righteousness;
    according to the cleanness of my hands he has rewarded me.
21 For I have kept the ways of the Lord;
    I am not guilty of turning from my God.
22 All his laws are before me;
    I have not turned away from his decrees.
23 I have been blameless before him
    and have kept myself from sin.
24 The Lord has rewarded me according to my righteousness,
    according to the cleanness of my hands in his sight.

25 To the faithful you show yourself faithful,
    to the blameless you show yourself blameless,
26 to the pure you show yourself pure,
    but to the devious you show yourself shrewd.
27 You save the humble
    but bring low those whose eyes are haughty.
28 You, Lord, keep my lamp burning;
    my God turns my darkness into light.
29 With your help I can advance against a troop[e];
    with my God I can scale a wall.

30 As for God, his way is perfect:
    The Lord’s word is flawless;
    he shields all who take refuge in him.
31 For who is God besides the Lord?
    And who is the Rock except our God?
32 It is God who arms me with strength
    and keeps my way secure.
33 He makes my feet like the feet of a deer;
    he causes me to stand on the heights.
34 He trains my hands for battle;
    my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
35 You make your saving help my shield,
    and your right hand sustains me;
    your help has made me great.
36 You provide a broad path for my feet,
    so that my ankles do not give way.

37 I pursued my enemies and overtook them;
    I did not turn back till they were destroyed.
38 I crushed them so that they could not rise;
    they fell beneath my feet.
39 You armed me with strength for battle;
    you humbled my adversaries before me.
40 You made my enemies turn their backs in flight,
    and I destroyed my foes.
41 They cried for help, but there was no one to save them—
    to the Lord, but he did not answer.
42 I beat them as fine as windblown dust;
    I trampled them[f] like mud in the streets.
43 You have delivered me from the attacks of the people;
    you have made me the head of nations.
People I did not know now serve me,
44     foreigners cower before me;
    as soon as they hear of me, they obey me.
45 They all lose heart;
    they come trembling from their strongholds.

46 The Lord lives! Praise be to my Rock!
    Exalted be God my Savior!
47 He is the God who avenges me,
    who subdues nations under me,
48     who saves me from my enemies.
You exalted me above my foes;
    from a violent man you rescued me.
49 Therefore I will praise you, Lord, among the nations;
    I will sing the praises of your name.

50 He gives his king great victories;
    he shows unfailing love to his anointed,
    to David and to his descendants forever.

 
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Posted by on February 1, 2015 in the Psalms

 

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