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Psalm:4(last updated: Mar 16 2020)
Psalms 4: kjv
Today's Audio Commentary: "Him that is Godly"
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| Psalm:4 "Him that is Godly" (commentary as one file)
- "But know that the LORD hath set apart him that is godly for himself" kjv@Psalms:4:3
- There are two ways to look at this statement: 1. God looked down to earth, found a man that was already being kind and religiously pious dict:strongs H2623 (khaw-seed = godly) then sets that man apart or 2. God set apart the man and therefore the man becomes kind and religiously pious dict:strongs H2623 (khaw-seed = godly). Which way is it?
- It is an important question because in kjv@Psalms:4:6 David says "There be many that say, Who will shew us any good?". For our discussion today I would like to change the translation to "who will show us anything better"? My concern is that we live in a world that very much believes relativism, we are all about as good as one another. Sure there might be some who make it their occupation to do large scale good, teachers or doctors, firemen or police, researchers and chemists. Their occupation gives them much greater opportunity to do good in much bigger arenas, but it is not to say that they have done any better than any of us would do having been given the opportunity and the occupation.
- If this modern relative age were to ask David "old man... what makes what you are calling godliness any better than anything we are doing"? well I'm sure that each one of us readers would have to pause a moment to think about how David would answer that.
- It is important question to ponder because David also says "the LORD will hear when I call unto him" kjv@Psalms:4:3. How so more than any of the rest of us? Here David ties it back to the supposition because "God has set him apart". So then we must come to some sort of conclusion as to how this setting apart actually works and how it makes for something that truthfully is better than just relatively good.
- The saint is in much distress in our psalm today. He is calling to God to help him mercifully just as he has called and been helped several times before.
- The saint is being strongly opposed by those that he is calling "ye sons of men". They are actively attempting to shame this saint's glory. YE sons of men are described loving their own vanity, seeking after leasing (untruth/deceitfulness, figuratively = idol). The hunting down to shame and abuse the saint is a repetitive theme throughout the psalms. David confidently calls for God's help and in the same breath exhorts others to stand in awe, sin not, commune and be still, offer the sacrifices of righteousness and to trust. The others might be "ye sons of men" he exhorts but who are they to ever listen? It is more likely other distressed saints in this saint's congregation.
- Herein might be our first indication as how the saint's position might be shown to be better. The saint isn't the one going about to shame the good that the other people are doing; hopefully not. At the same time he is attempting to humanly separate his goodness from the love of vanity and from deceitfulness within and without.
- What makes a saint's goodness any better than anybody else's; you ask? The psalm is replying that the LORD sets him the godly apart. It is a result of God's continuing work upon each saint that the saint no longer seeks to shame the well intentioned efforts of other people. It is God's continuing work that the saint more and more is turned back the other direction from vanity. It is God's continuing work that the saint is lifted from the deceitful bands of our hearts and imaginations. Continuing I do say because not one of us are completely there as of yet. Therefore we should each "stand in awe, sin not, commune and be still, offer the sacrifices of righteousness and trust".
- Could it be said then that by the continuing work of God that the saint (faulty as he is) is on the path of something better? I do believe that it is so.
- "The LORD hath set apart him that is godly for himself". What makes a man godly then? Godly seems to be the key. Is it his actions and intents God sees that sets him apart? or is it that God sets him apart and then his actions and intents are soon to follow a better course?
- Let's spend the time today to find out!
- The glory of a person is the same as measuring their comparative weight or value, the more the value the more the glory. The "sons of men" miscalculate the value of other people all the time. One is either hip or they are square, in or out, rich or poor, beautiful or ugly, smart or stupid, liberal or conservative, male or female, gay or straight, young or old, fetus or newborn, documented or undocumented, freeman or slave or master... you get the idea. Sad to say, we all do it, no one I know is above it.
- The discovery that some "sons of men" devalue the human worth of certain saints should come as no surprise, what should be more alarming is the extreme level of devaluation that they are capable of acting upon. We don't even have to confine ourselves to the devaluation of Christian saints in order to see this concept at work, it happens to nearly all religious saints in some form and can be instigated even by other religions on those saints.
- Take the level of devaluation given the Jews by the Nazi Third Reich for example. Could we say that they were able to do that to the Jews because of their vanity? You bet we can, they saw themselves as a superior master race. Could we say that they sought after deceit? You bet we can, they were lead by one of the most deceitful men in all of history. Can we say the same about most every case of religious or ethnic intolerance ever committed by anybody before or since? You bet we can. The psalmist seems to have made a pretty fair assessment of problem.
- Because of one group's claim of being godly/set apart before God, another group devalues their level it places on the other's human worth, which in turn can at times translate to them seeking to do the others harm. It's a story as old as time, even back to the days of Cain and Able. Can we logically expect that it would be any different today.
- Here's the problem I see with this in the most general sense: not everyone who claims themselves to be set apart by God and godly is in fact set apart and godly. How can so many different religions with so many diverse beliefs pertaining to God be the same form of godly or the same amount of set apart? Do not at least some of these form equate to the same love of vanity and leasing as do the non-religious or otherwise religious?
- You see there has to be quite a bit of circular logic involved if we are going to say that we get to choose which God to worship, choose how to worship, choose which ways we will allow ourselves to be set apart, declare our choices to be better, look down on others who have not made a similar choice, suffer by the hands of those whom we essentially look down upon. If it is not God who first chooses us and sets us apart HIMSELF, who are we to say that we are any better than anyone else even if we do suffer? Is it the act of suffering that makes our choices any better? There are many people that would think so.
- Perhaps we could show each other something better even considering all this circular logic if which just held each other to the psalmists ideal here:
kjv@Psalms:4:4 "Stand in awe, and sin not...."
- Allowing each other our differences in belief, acknowledging our differences but, at the same time not committing a sin upon each other. "No sir, you don't see God the same way as I do but, you know what, I am not going to devalue or abuse or persecute you because of it". Why? Because that would not be godly. There is nothing kind nor pious about that type of behavior. That is not what sets my religion apart. Godliness does not give one license to sin.
- Instead what am I going to do?
kjv@Psalms:4:4 commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah.
- What else am I going to do?
kjv@Psalms:4:5 @ Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and put your trust in the LORD.
- Now there is something better; at least for the time being; at least until the day of God's great judgment and revealing.
- When it comes to any man's claim of being godly, the question must immediately follow what is it that sets your form of godliness apart?
- Is your godliness set apart by the fact that you are willing to sin or even kill for what you believe as it is with many radical and militant sects? Well then the likelihood is that you are neither godly nor set apart at all for even Cain was willing to do that.
- Is your godliness set apart by the fact that you are more fanatical or devoted to your church or synagogue or mosque then the majority of your peers are? Well then is not likely God setting you apart, it is you setting yourself apart or your sect or denomination.
- Is it your good works or your education or your priestly occupation that sets your godliness apart? Aren't these all part of the same problem, isn't that just about us and what we are willing to be and do to set ourselves apart from the others so as to win the favor of God?
- So you are willing to strap bombs on to your chest and blow yourself up in a crowded market. So you are willing to steer a jet airliner into a tower. So you are willing to kidnap a village of school girls and sell them on the sex slave market. How set apart is that type of godliness really?
- So you are willing to go to seminary or bible school, make a nice career of being godly for yourself. So you are willing to excel at your theological schooling or pastorate profession. So you are willing to devote yourself to the service of your deacons or bishops or cardinals or pope and church, willing to lie and coverup if needed, willing to burn neighbors at the stake if that is what it takes? How set apart is that type of godliness really?
- So you are willing to hide yourself as a monk or a nun or a hermit. So you are willing to flog yourself, take a vow of silence, pierce or castrate yourself, walk on hot coals, be bit by rattle snakes, drink poisons. So you are willing to take your son to the top a mount, tie him there and dangle a knife over him? I know of people that are willing to burn their child at a alter to an idol and drink a cup of their blood, does that mean somehow that they are even more godly than even Abraham?
- Are these many many things the measure of godliness? Are they the measure of which God has set us apart? No, rather they are the measure of us setting ourselves apart.
- Let's take the example of a godly saint like David. Was David set apart because he said he was? or was he set apart because God at times stepped in and despite anything David at the time was doing proved it. Was David set apart because of all that he was able to do for God that God couldn't have done without? or was he set apart rather by what God was able to do through him that David was unable to do without?
- You can imagine David, being in the position of king as he was, the types of people that devalued him because of his religious beliefs and presumption of being set apart. Some people approaching him weren't the least bit religious who felt such beliefs are not befitting a king, it was beneath a king, him of all people a representative of this nation to all the other foreign nations. Others approaching him were very much religious, the same religion as him only more zealous, who felt him unworthy, a usurper, a dancing deviant, a slobbering lunatic, an adulterer, a murderer. Some of those approaching were diplomats from foreign nations, foreign gods, foreign religious customs. David often speaks of all these people being against him, surrounding him, setting traps, seeking to kill him, like strong bulls of Bashan, it being a blood sport. It well might be expected surrounding any king just being the object of power, even more so for kings that at the same time try to hold themselves true to their sanctifying religious beliefs at the same time.
- Most all of us today would say that David stands out in the course of history like very few other kings or cesars or dictators or presidents. It is hard to imagine that David would be able to get away with godly form of leadership. Could you imagine an American President today with the religious makeup of a David? Could you imagine the progressive's reaction? He'd have to be pleading with them to "sin not/commune upon your own bed and be still" just as much or more so as well!
- In the consideration of what might be shown that is better, it is interesting that the immediate thing David points us to is the light of the LORD's countenance.
- Most people I would imagine when asked to show a godliness better than the rest would resort to all their works of charity, outreach and standing in the community, their church size and long history, international missions etc... What is better is them in other words, their works, their customs, their good standing, their system of beliefs. What is worse is those others in other words their works, their customs, their good standing, their system of beliefs. Better becomes a comparison of us versus them.
- How much easier is it to say the light of the LORD's countenance, that's the proof, the expression on the LORD's own face. Who am I compared to God? What matter does it make what I presume to be better or best? what I say or do? Who am I to answer for God? Go straight to HIM to get the answer direct.
- Now the idea of God's countenance is a very tricky one. In the Hebrew dict:strongs H6440 means face plural, faces of God, pointing to the many expressions a face is capable of making. By reading the expression of the face one can access the mood and sentiment or character of a person. It nearly conveys the idea of being a truth detector, a child can tell you that they understand what you are saying and still have the same vacant confused look to them that they had when they first came in the room; you can tell that they don't yet understand. It is thought that one can tell if a person is lying by the expressions of their face. Countenance is a very important indication when dealing with interpersonal communication as is the intent here with discerning God.
- With God however the concept has obvious difficulties. It is said that no one can look upon the face of God and live ( kjv@Exodus:33:20) so many people interrupt God's countenance to mean HIS either HIS favor or HIS presence. The problem I see with that is that if it is the favor/presence of God only that leaves the matter to a whole lot of private interpretation. I have know men for instance that interpreted God's favor that they leave their wives because this other woman in their lives made them more happy; after all God wants man to be happy therefore God's favor was upon this adultery leading to divorce occurring. Nations have conducted acts of aggression convinced by signs they interpreted as being God's expressed favor. If this is the correct understanding that we are to have of countenance then God's countenance often means little more than doing what is right in one's own eye.
- Evidence in favor of this countenance interpretation is that for a time Israel did have the presence of the LORD with them in the form of a fire by night and cloud by day in the wilderness. Adam and Eve did have HIS presence in the garden. Jesus said whomever has seen me "has seen the Father" and is described as the express image of the Father. That type of physical presence has only been afford to a very few people however. It may be saying to look back to those times when you had my presence and how I reacted. Presence might even be extended to scripture as well as in God is present in all of scripture.
- Another interpretation is that it means to imagine God's face prior to deciding on a matter. This suffers from the same downfall, private interpretation which is based now upon imagination.
- The safest and most probable interpretation I believe regarding the "light of thy countenance" revolves around this connected idea of stand in awe and sin not. It is obvious that anything we put forth in this matter is going to involve private interpretation and imagination which of course can be used by us to bend God to our will; we are most susceptible to attempts like that. However, somewhere indeed beyond our our faulty interpretations and imagination is God's actual face full of very real expression and emotion. We have seen glimpses and shadows of it. Our present situation not being able to see HIS face indicates that we are too fallen and HE is too Holy for either of us to look upon one another, the time has not come as of yet but, there will be that day. So then, given these indications, we understand HIS strengths and our weaknesses, HIS certainty and our confusion, HIS reality and our imaginations, HIS wanting but our falling short, our seeking to bend HIS will, our seeking to imagine a vain thing, HIS light and our darkness. And from this most humble perspective we stand in awe and decide to sin not.
- In other words, I am not going to allow myself to presuppose that God is behind me on this. Even the things that HE is behind I can easily find a way of screwing up. Have I ever succeeded 100% at anything the way that God would have wanted to see the thing done? I am not going to think or say that my glory exceeds the glory of anybody else, I am fine with it even being less than others, in fact whatever glory I have left to myself I am simply going to attribute to God and be done with it. Why? because of the light of HIS countenance. Wait a minute Randy I thought that no man could see it. Oh I don't see it but, I do sense it, it is most brilliant and blindingly bright. Wait a minute Randy I thought we all have difficulty interpreting it. Oh I do have much difficulty but, that doesn't effect me not being drawn to it. Wait a minute Randy I thought it was mostly imaginary. Oh my imagination is very much stirred up, my imagination swirls and shifts and changes and rarely settles on one perch more than a couple minutes; my imagination may not be real (maybe not whose to say) but, the finger of God that is gently stirring my imagination certainly is. If this is what is left to me for the time being, standing in utter awe, I will most gratfully take it. However, I will at the same time be well aware of my faults and limitations along with the faults and limitations of all others.
- To stand in awe is to fear and place extreme reverence.
kjv@Psalms:19:9 @ The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.
kjv@Proverbs:1:7 @ The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
kjv@Proverbs:8:13 @ The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.
kjv@Proverbs:9:10 @ The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.
kjv@Proverbs:14:26 @ In the fear of the LORD is strong confidence: and his children shall have a place of refuge.
kjv@Proverbs:14:27 @ The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death.
kjv@Proverbs:15:33 @ The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom; and before honour is humility.
kjv@Proverbs:16:6 @ By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the LORD men depart from evil.
kjv@Proverbs:23:17 @ Let not thine heart envy sinners: but be thou in the fear of the LORD all the day long.
- You see the light of God's countenance is much broader than any one of us can put our thumb on; bigger than all of us together can put our finger collectively on. But, we know this, that it is bright, too bright for any of us to look at. It is pure and clean, like heavenly coals to the prophet's lips if not for God's mercy too pure for a soiled soul to survive or relate. It is holy, so holy that a great great prophet has to sheild himself behind a rock so not to look directly at it, remove his sandles for even the ground which upon such light is shown becomes holy. We may not be able to look upon such a thing as God's countenance but, by virtue of the awe that it instills upon us we certainly can easily picture it.
- This phrase "LORD, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us" is what is David connects to "There be many that say, Who will shew us any good (better)". There in is the good that David can show us. Therein is the better thing you and I both need to see being presented.
- What is it that set us apart?
- What is it that inspires us to live godly kind/pious lives?
- What is it that puts gladness in our hearts even during times when others put our glory to shame?
- You got it... "the light of thy countenance upon us" LORD.
- Again we consider "who will show us anything good/better, this time in terms of righteousness. In verse :1 the psalmist says "Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness". If I were to ask "what makes a person righteous" no doubt I would get several answers all having to do with something that they perform, it is an action or an obedience or an achievement.
- For some people righteousness is something that they don't do. For instance they don't murder or steal or covet or etc... It seems to be a fairly easy mark, most people don't do these things so then we must conclude that most people are righteous. Oh and if you see other people doing a certain thing well then it must be alright. It also seems to be a floating mark as well for some would conclude that since they don't do eight of the ten things on the list that this is better than two out of ten therefore yes they are righteous. Some people would go as far as a grading based on the group average, where eight of ten or four of ten did not matter as long as it was in the output of the average person. Again, it is the individual typically that decides the list, it may not be ten but only one: do unto others or something of the like.
- For other people righteousness is something that they actively do. They perform charity for instance, they regularly attend church, they tithe, they take communion, they pray etc... Some would go as far as to say if you did do enough of these especially good works that one could make up for their short comings on the things I don't do list; five of ten now becomes ten of ten. This seems to be a slightly more difficult mark, most people don't do half of this so then we must conclude that only the more dedicated doers are righteous. This seems to be a fairly progressive mark as well for it seems that no matter how much one does on this list there is someone to tell them that there is so much more yet to do. Therefore we could conclude that very few are righteous, probably just the ones that come up with these lists.
- For other people righteousness is a very relative thing. I am not as bad as some people, neither am I as good as some people (but most of those goodie goodies are hypocrites or overly fanatic and who wants to be like those people anyway), therefore I am righteous or at least righteous enough. Seems again to be a fairly easy self determined mark, as long as one falls in the middle somewhere between Adolph Hitler and Mother Theresa hey your in with the righteous crowd.
- For a few but growing number of people righteousness does not exist at all, it is a man made construct. Only unrighteousness exists and those are mostly people that hold to this archaic religious artifact believing they themselves are righteous or that everyone should be as righteous as they are becoming.
- All these things have to do with what people either do or don't do that makes them righteous. Each seems to have an upside depending on how you look at it and each has it's downside as well. Who then can show us anything better?
- Consider what David might mean by his phrase "God of my righteousness". We can either read it as how my righteousness sees God or that it is God that brings about my righteousness. Which way do you see it?
- If it is how my righteousness sees God then it is easy to see why we have so many variations of God; because their are so many variations of righteousness. This is how we get to our modern cafeteria form of God; people design their own image of God. If it is rather God that brings about my righteousness, we must ask then which configuration of God best brings that better righteousness about? Jesus made it clear that not just any configuration of God or righteousness was going enter into His kingdom:
kjv@Matthew:5:20 @ For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.
- What form of righteousness is it then that "exceeds"? There are plenty of works based forms of righteousness similar to the Pharisees. I doubt that any one of them are more devout to the high levels of ritual and legalism as were they. There is really no need us going down that road cause it seems that it is the farthest point down that road available man and yet it cannot exceed itself. Who would show us anything better? Exceeding must be a whole different direction down a whole different road.
- Some Christians, mostly Protestant, have a very peculiar view of this "my righteousness" not based upon the works based righteousness of the individual. It holds that man does not have an intrinsic righteousness within them ( kjv@Isaiah:64:6), it is the atoning work and righteousness of Christ that is imputed on to them ( kjv@Romans:4). Christ has been made righteousness unto us ( kjv@1Corinthians:1:30). My personal righteousness does not exceed the Pharisees, no but Christ's does and I cling to His as if it is more than righteous enough to cover me. The view is most peculiar in that it is one of the only that is not works based, it is based solely upon God's mercy and grace bestowed on us through Christ ( kjv@Ephesians:2:1-10). Could this be the righteousness that exceeds? Could this be what is better meant by "God of my righteousness? Yes it could be.
Matthew 11:28-30 kjv
- What then of all the bible mentions of do this and don't do that? some would ask. In this view they become expressions of a grateful and radically changed heart. The relationship is first and foremost with the person and accomplishments of Jesus Christ made on our behalf; Jesus Christ stands before God the Father as our righteousness, total, in full. How much then does this relationship mean to us? How grateful are we that Jesus has become all this? This is what is measured by our daily recognition and acknowledgement of Him by means of obedience, not for our righteousness but, in eager response to Him.
- One form of righteousness is worked for and earned; God now owes you good and sizable wages. The other form is partaken of, it is His, He is it, He is more than willing to share of it, we become benefactors of it because of Him. That is a considerable difference between the two, enough of a difference that the two cannot be commingled, they are polar opposites. On the one hand we have a cafeteria of various shapes and forms of God and works based righteousness leading to all the confusion and self justification and burden that we long have had. On the other hand we have something foreign and liberating to us, focused not primarily on ourselves and our mixed up religion but, on Him and His faithfulness performed to the Father.
- "There be many that say, Who will shew us any good"? Well isn't that what I just did by taking the words of this psalmist literally? "O God of my righteousness"
- In this final section of commentary, I would like to summarize everything that we have now considered along the lines of who would show us anything better. To do that I would like to use this phrase in 4:7 "Thou hast put gladness in my heart". Who would show us any better? Well I would show you better because the LORD through the process of everything that we've now considered has put an exceeding type of gladness in my heart. Wouldn't you like an exceeding gladness in your heart as well? Well I can now show you.
- In the past the saint has been distressed :1. It is a perplexing quandary mankind has fallen into, being detached from God yet attempting by his own efforts to work his way back to God, burdened by the weight of considerable failings, a harm to himself and a harm to others, harmed by others in like fashion, harmed even by others trying to make their own way back with their works based relative forms of righteousness. Despite all this human effort though coming slowly to the distressing realization:
kjv@Ecclesiastes:1:2-3 @ Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity. What profit hath a man of all his labour which he taketh under the sun?
- The saint has in the past called upon the Lord to have mercy and to hear his prayer :1. To the Old Testament saint the LORD has promised Messiah, to the New Testament saint the LORD has delivered on said promise in the person of Jesus Christ. In both cases the saints distress has been turned to much gladness for the Christ has been made unto him all that the man would ever need.
kjv@1Corinthians:1:30 @ But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:
- The LORD has responded in kind by enlarging the saint in his distress :1. What a beautiful picture: enlarging; making the saint or the ground the saint stands upon much larger. He is now a spiritually quickened person ( kjv@Ephesians:2:1-4). The righteousness of God and Savior has now been fulfilled and experienced, faith obtained, grace and peace multiplied, all things pertaining to life and godliness given, future calling envisioned, divine nature partaken of, corruption escaped ( kjv@2Peter:1:1-4). This is only God's doing, it is HIS work of righteousness, it is most merciful and gracious that the LORD has heard the saint's cry of distress and done exactly this about that. For this we HIS saints are extremely glad.
- That is not to mean that distress is all done and over. Gladness is not the absence of distress rather it is the presence of something much greater to counter act it. No the saint finds him/her self in a new position having to deal with a new form of distress, the distress of having others attempt to shame his glory (the new life in Christ given to which he/she glories). Oh and there are still those more common daily distresses as well. What has changed though is how the saint now being regenerated deals with each of these.
- Distress at times can make one to feel quite small. Distress can be a multitude of things, something about the situation you find yourself in, not getting any traction, something coming against you and not getting anywhere with it, the ground under your feet on the edge of a steep decline, room for safe footing getting smaller and tighter. Distress could well be a tight place others have put you in (ye sons of men) or a hole that you have foolishly dug yourself into. In the past when the saint called the LORD heard and enlarged the space beneath and around him. The saint hopes the same in this current distress this time as well. Distress is a constant in this world, others attempt to deal with it in their own way, the saint seeks to deal with it God's way. In this God brings the saint into exceeding gladness.
- You'll note that this enlargement if not the saint puffing his own self up as it is with so many others. If you don't have God to see you through then you only have your fight or flight mechanism to resort to, many would flee and hide to avoid the distressing situation, others would attack the situation with their own determination and resource which only gets one so far (in the case of the lost or drowning man this fight mechanism is typically the type of response that gets them drowned or confounded dead), however the majority of people of either mechanism tend to avoid the situations where like the saint that their glory is publicly being shamed. The saint typically for the sake of faithfulness to God doesn't leave him/her self that option. Even in this God brings the saint into exceeding gladness.
- There is also the idea that God sets apart the godly man for himself. Being set apart brings the saint an uncommon distress and yet at the same time an uncommon gladness. Gladness is not the absence of distress it is the presence of something greater than distress. The saint is God's now and not his own. He doesn't flee or fight as he once did, neither does God allow him to get too puffed up. Oh religion can puff up. Oh knowledge and wisdom can puff up. Even Apostles at times need to be buffeted. The saint however must attempt to steer clear of all that puffiness, to not lose that awe for God the person, to not sin neither in the flesh nor in the presumptuous, to commune with God on his own bed, wrestle with himself and God if need be until he finds that place of being still. In this also God brings the saint into exceeding gladness.
- The saint also is brought by God into this exceeding gladness through the sacrifices of righteousness and the rightful/needful placing of his/her extreme trust. There will be those things come up that are simply a deep personal sacrifice that the LORD occasionally calls us to that are their simply to deepen our trust, sacrifices before our regeneration we'd likely not allow ourselves to make, sacrifices even with our regeneration that are personally difficult. There may not be gladness at that time, at the time it is rather trying but, when the deepening comes there is much more gladness.
- Certainly Christians are not the only ones out there making sacrifices, neither are all the sacrifices that they are making righteous. There are many many other people who feel that they are making great sacrifices, sacrifices of their choosing, some count it a sacrifice made for God, some to whom there is no God count it a sacrifice to their family of to their future or their present situation. Not all of these these however the sacrifices of righteousness either. Some sacrifice their time, some their excess riches, some their harvest, their first fruits or their first born ram or bullock. Cain and Abel each brought their own brand of sacrifice, not all sacrifices are the true "sacrifices of righteousness".
Isaiah 1:11-18 kjv
- These friend are the sacrifices of righteousness. In this God brings the saint into exceeding gladness.
Psalms 51:17 kjv
- "Thou hast put gladness in my heart, more than in the time that their corn and their wine increased" kjv@Psalms:4:7. More than is for the saint the key. It is not that these things, the harvest and the days of plenty do not bring us gladness, it is that the gladness the LORD seeks to bring us into is more than this.
- "the time that their corn" is a time when the sickle cuts down the wheat and the fork lifts it up into the wagon to drive it down to the barn. After months and months of hard diligent work now the real work has to be done but, it is exciting work, it is energetic work. There is a true sense of gladness that the crop has made it this far and that it is a good crop, more than even the second barn can hold.
- "the time that... their wine increased" is the time of picking the grapes late in the evening when the fruit is it's sweetest and juiciest, by the sweat of many neighbors brow and the light of many lanterns. It is basket upon basket of grapes heading on carts down to the presses, down where the juice is squeezed gently at first so as to not bruise the juice into the vats, the skins atop stirred for their yeasts and extra tannin. It is hard diligent work, it requires many people's work in the fields those few nights til all is picked and then the work of a master vintner but, it is exciting work, it is energetic work, the few coming hours are most crucial. There is a true sense of gladness that the crop has made it this far and that it is a good crop, more than even a cave of casks and vessels can store. It will be a year or more before there is a final product, ah but this year's vintage will long be remembered.
- Well sir... the gladness that God brings the saint into is more than all this. You ask who would show us any good/better? The LORD that's the answer, the LORD would show us something better.
- The LORD has heard, HE has enlarged, HE has had mercy just as the saint had asked. The LORD hath set apart him that is godly for HIMSELF. Who set him apart? The LORD. How did he become godly? The LORD set him apart the saint has since followed along with HIM where HE is taking him. The LORD has put exceeding gladness in HIS saints hearts. And friend, only the LORD makes HIS saints to dwell in the safety of HIS loving and merciful arms.
- What then do "ye sons of men" have to say about this? How long will they love vanity, and seek after leasing? I can say with some surety that without God's help how long could be an eternity. How long will ye turn God's glory into shame? Just as long as they hide themselves from God's help. How long will ye turn the saints glory into shame? Well now see that article is little more difficult, even saints try to shame other saints glory, often times saints confuse God's glory for their very own, sometimes they go about what they go about with very little consideration of God's or another saint's glory; perhaps some amount of shame is deserved. The psalmist David here even has advice for this type of saint:
kjv@Psalms:4:4-5 @ Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah. Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and put your trust in the LORD.
- Advice that we all would be wise to take at full value.