Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The Connection between the “Beatitudes” and the “Lord’s Prayer”

The lord Jesus makes the “Beatitudes” the subject for prayer, in what we call the “lord’s prayer”. It is the subject of prayer.


The only kind of person who can realize his poverty of spirit does so through repentance. The psalmist puts this perfectly in Psalm 51:1: “Have mercy on me, O God, according to Your steadfast love; according to Your abundant mercy, blot out my transgressions, O God. Wash me thoroughly from my sin, my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.”
You recognize your poverty in spirit when you recognize that you are a sinner and you say, “Have mercy on me, O God.... According to Your abundant mercy, blot out, I beg of you, my transgressions.” That is repentance.

Let us trace the connection on the points which seem to be less obvious. The first item says: “Our Father who is in heaven”. Our Father is in heaven. Do you see the connection with being poor in spirit? If you were somewhat more familiar with the lord’s teaching, the connection would have clicked very quickly. How? Take for example Matthew 18:3. What does Matthew 18:3 say? “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become....” Like what? “...like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” What is the first beatitude? “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” For whom is the kingdom of heaven? The lord Jesus said that except you become like children, you shall never enter the kingdom of heaven, for of such are the kingdom of heaven. Of what? Of little children! Of such are the kingdom of heaven. So the poor in spirit are like little children – needing to rely on their Father to enable them to do His Will to be His spiritual children! What does it mean: spiritual children? Unless you become like a child, realizing you are helpless in this world, and need to be utterly dependent upon God as a child is dependent upon his father, you will in no way enter the kingdom of God.

The connection is so clear. “Our Father”; only the poor in spirit; those who realize their poverty of spirit [inability to do their Father’s will without His Spirit enabling them to do so] those are the children who call Him “Our Father”.
Children are people who have no status in this world. “Unless,” the lord said to his disciples, “unless you humble yourself and become like little children in attitude of mind”; you will in no way enter the kingdom of God”. Unless you become like children, unless you can say, in the poverty of spirit of your spirit, “My Father, I am dependent wholly on you. I am nothing. I have nothing. I am simply your child in need of your Holy Spirit in order to walk in obedience and faith according to your will, have regard for me.” The connection is so clear.

How is it that we missed the connection between the Beatitudes and the Lord’s Prayer? “Our Father”! Nobody can truly say “Our Father” except these who truly recognize his/her poverty of spirit; who realize that to become children of God they have to have His Spirit to enable them to do His will, because they have not strength to do it on their own. In relation to God, he/she is simply a child dependent upon Him for their all. What does your child do? If you do not go out and work, your child will starve to death because you child cannot earn a living. Your child has not the strength nor the knowledge nor the understanding to do anything. He/she cannot survive in this world without a parent’s guidance and help. The child depends on the father so long as he is a child. That is where we stand in relation to God. We become His children. We have absolutely no self-confidence. We do not try to earn our salvation any more than a child can earn his living. A child has no means of survival in this world apart from the pity and compassion of grownups, especially the parents. There is no way to survive. In the same way we cannot survive spiritually without relying on our God and Father to enable us to do what He would have us to do. We are totally dependent upon God for our spiritual survival. Totally dependent! So only when we recognize our total dependence Him can we call Him our Father.

When we are drawn of God to Himself by His Spirit we realize our true state, our actual condition that we are truly poor in spirit, totally incapable of doing what He asks of us without His Spirit indwelling us which enable us to do His will. Then and only then can we say, “Our Father, who is in heaven....” The connection is so obvious, isn’t it?

Notice that the Beatitudes can be found everywhere in Paul’s teaching. Paul’s teaching is simply saturated with every item of the Beatitudes which shows how much the Beatitudes were in Paul’s thinking. In fact his whole doctrine of salvation is based exactly on this basis of poverty of spirit; that we cannot save ourselves through the keeping of the law and through our own efforts, that we, like children have to become completely dependent upon God. It is the Spirit of God (Paul says) that is sent into our hearts that enables us in our poverty of spirit to cry out, “Abba, Father!” [Galatians 4:6] This is the whole foundation of Paul’s theology.

Paul understood the lord’s teaching so well and so perfectly. Everywhere, item by item of the Beatitudes, you will find throughout Paul’s teaching. In fact you can find it even in just one letter; in Paul’s biographical letter, Philippians. You can find every item of the Beatitudes right in there. For example he speaks about having suffered the loss of all things. When you have suffered the loss of all things, you are indeed poor. Paul counts them as rubbish. There is the poverty of spirit! He regards all these things as not dear to himself that he may have God’s anointed one.


Well, let us look at the second connection. Here I notice a transposition, a change of order, and this is quite important. The second item here is holy, “Hallowed be Your name.” When I compared this to the Beatitudes, I found that the only one that is likely to fit in with it is the item “pure in heart”. Who is pure in heart but he who seeks to hallow – glory in God’s name, to make God’s name holy both in my life and in the life of others, that God’s name is exalted and glorified. The pure in heart! Now we will see a reason for this. This is the only one of the later items in the lord’s prayer in which you find this kind of transference: the sixth item (“pure in heart”) being transposed to the first item of petition. That is very interesting. But you can see immediately how “Blessed are the pure in heart” and “holy be Your name” are internally connected. That is very easy to see and requires no great exposition.


Or take the next item, “Your kingdom come”. Again if you are at all familiar with the scriptural teaching of the OT you will see how it coincides immediately with those who mourn. Who are those who desire God’s kingdom to come but those who mourn because of the present state of sin in the world, who mourn because of sin in their own lives, who mourn because of sin in the called-out Assembly, who mourn because of sin. They long for “Your kingdom to come”.

If you do not mourn for sin, you cannot say from your heart, “Your kingdom come” because you are very satisfied with things as they are. Sin does not disturb you; it does not bother you. I do not see many Christians very anxious that God’s kingdom should come, that the lord Jesus should come again, because I do not see that much concern for righteousness, for holiness. I do not see that much grief over sin. I do not really see it. If we grieved so intensely about sin, we would constantly be longing and crying out in prayer: “Your kingdom come”, your salvation come; deliver us from this sinful world, this bondage of sin that we are in. As Paul says, “Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” [Romans 7:24] Who shall deliver me? He knows his sinful condition and inclinations. “Wretched man that I am!” he says in Romans 7. And then he looks forward to God’s salvation, to the coming of God’s kingdom: “Thanks be to God”. God’s anointed one will give us the victory. He longs with earnest expectation, with outstretched arms for the coming of God’s kingdom. That is what the Greek word means. “Your kingdom come”. Paul longs for the kingdom because he mourns over sin. He speaks of himself as wretched man; he in this body is still under bondage to sin.
If you go into the OT, it is equally clear. In Psalm 80:5 the psalmist speaks of tears, mourning over sin. In v. 2 he says, “Come to me! Oh, God! Save me! Let your salvation come! Come and save us!” Or in Psalm 6:6,7 we see the same thing. We read of the mourning and weeping over sin, of grief over sin. In v. 4 we find there:

“Turn, O Lord”, and save us. Turn and save us. Turn back. Come back to me. Save me. This longing for God to come for the coming of the kingdom of God. It is Jesus’ coming as God’s vice-regent as His agent. So you see this constant connection between the mourning over sin and the longing that God should come and save.


The next passage as we press forward is, “Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” “Your will be done on earth” - who speaks of this kind of a prayer but the meek? The meek shall inherit what? The earth. Your will be done on earth as in heaven. In both cases you have there the word ‘earth’. Very interesting! Who desires that God’s will be done? Who says “Your will be done” but the meek? The meek are those who desire God’s will to be done. “Not my will, O Lord, but Your will be done.” That is the language of the meek. It is the proud who says, “My will be done. I want it this way.” The meek says, “Your will be done! As perfectly as it is done in heaven, so let Your will will be completely done on earth.”


The next parallel is already so obvious. “Give us this day our daily bread.” Who would pray such a prayer but those who hunger and thirst for righteousness? They are the ones who hunger for the bread of life. For where is righteousness but in the bread of life? Everywhere the connection is so obvious.


Notice the connection in the next item: “Forgive us our sins.” Who are those who long for that forgiveness? Those who have their sins forgiven! They are the merciful. In fact in the lord’s teaching, mercy and forgiveness of sins are parallel in meaning. What does it mean to be merciful? It is to forgive sins. Why do we forgive sin? because we ourselves have been forgiven of our sins. The connection between mercy and forgiveness, the Lord Jesus has made explicit in Matthew 18:32,33. In v. 33 it speaks of having mercy and in v. 32 it speaks of forgiveness. Mercy and forgiveness are identical terms in the lord’s teaching.


Look at the next one in the same way. “As we forgive those who trespass against us”. Who speaks such language but peacemakers? Only those who desire peace, who make peace, readily forgive the offense against them. It is the attitude of a peacemaker that he does not hold offense against you that does not bear a grudge. If you bear a grudge, if you refuse to forgive, how can you be a peacemaker? A peacemaker is one who does not hold another person’s sin against him. A peacemaker is one who immediately seeks reconciliation. He does not say, “We are not on speaking terms anymore. Forget it! If you say you are a Christian, forget it. I am not talking to the likes of you again.” The peacemaker is one who says, “Okay, okay. There is an offense against me but I hold this not against you.” Freely forgive! In Ephessians 4:32 Paul says, “as God for His anointed one’s sake has forgiven you” [KJV], so you forgive one another. Forgive one another! A peacemaker is the one who freely forgives because he himself has been forgiven too. So you find there is an inseparable connection between the merciful and the peacemaker. No wonder they follow each other closely.


Let us come to the eighth item: “lead us not into temptation”. As we have already seen, there the connections are so obvious that it hardly requires any kind of exposition. “Lead us not....” When do we face the most severe temptation? Certainly under persecution for those who have turned away from sin. Have you not often thought to yourself, “Will I be able to survive under persecution?” Even those of you who are training in the Lord’s work, how many times have you thought to yourself, “What would happen if I am severely persecuted for the faith? Would I survive this test, this trial, this temptation?” As you know, in Greek, the words ‘trial’ and ‘temptation’ are the same word. There is no distinction in meaning. “Lead us not into temptation”. Would I be able to survive it? By God’s grace!

But then here also we do not put ourselves in a position of temptation. We do not seek temptation. Even though we love God, we do not go and look for it. The prayer is a caution against looking for trouble. There is enough trouble coming to you without your going to look for it. It reminds us of early Christians. Some of them, in their untutored zeal, went and tempted the Tempter. They looked for trouble. When the Roman emperor gave an edict of persecution against Christians (as you know from church history, i.e., those of you who have read some church history), the governor found a whole crowd of Christians in front of his office saying, “Here I am.” The emperor had said that Christians are to be persecuted. [So this group said,] “We are Christians. Get on with it!” Do not look for trouble! “Lead us not into temptation.” He will not lead us and you do not go and look for it. But temptations and trials will come. And above all, of course, the greatest concern is the concern of the temptation, the supreme temptation of apostasy, which we face under pressure. That is, above all things, what we seek to be delivered from.


Notice then also the last item in the lord’s prayer which is so clear, so plain to us. What does the last beatitude say? Read the words very carefully. “Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my own account” (notice the word evil against you falsely) and “deliver us from evil.” That is exactly what we pray for - “deliver us from evil.” There the internal connection is so obvious that it hardly requires exposition.


I would like you to bear in mind then that the lord in his wisdom has shown us what he has done. He has taken the Beatitudes right there, at the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount, and turned it into a subject for prayer and yet turned it in such a way as to draw out the internal essence of it. Oh, the lord’s teaching is so supreme in its wonder, in the beauty of its construction, in the depth of spiritual quality and insight. Can you see now the connection?

Do you now know what you are doing when you pray the lord’s prayer? You are simply praying, in fact, the content of the Beatitudes. I trust you will never again pray the lord’s prayer without realizing what it is you are saying. When you say “Our Father”, you are praying, “Lord, make me to realize my poverty of spirit.” On the other hand, if you do not realize your poverty of spirit and the necessity of having God’s Holy Spirit in you to be enabled to do His Will, you will not pray meaningfully the words “Our Father”. You are not rightly using those words. You now realize how you should pray the lord’s prayer. You pray the lord’s prayer in an attitude of poverty of spirit. You realize what kind of people can say “Our Father”. Only the people who are poor in spirit can rightfully say, “Our Father who is in heaven”. Then you realize you need to be pure in heart in order to be able to truly say “hallowed be Your name”, because if you are not pure in heart and you say, “hallowed be Your name”, you are simply being hypocritical. You are being a hypocrite. How can you say, “hallowed be Your name” when you are impure in heart? I shudder to think of all these people who mumble the lord’s prayer every day, and in many church services they finish the service by saying, “Our Father”. They do not even know what they are saying. Do we know what we are saying? We must pray these things if we are to pray rightly at all, only with the understanding of the Beatitudes in our heart, i.e., only if we rightly understand what it is we are doing.

 So from now on I trust that you will be able to pray the Lord’s Prayer meaningfully, and not just to repeat that prayer.
The lord’s prayer, as we mentioned when we were expounding it, is a model prayer. That is to say that the lord did not say, “Just repeat these words”, but rather, “Make it the subject of your prayer, make it a pattern for prayer. Model your prayer upon this model prayer.” That is, when you pray other prayers, you make this, as it were, a starting point, a focal point for each item of your prayer. And each time you go through the lord’s prayer, you will have covered every beatitude. That truly is wonderful. May God truly enable us to truly enter into the spirit of the lord’s prayer by understanding ever more deeply and ever more clearly the Beatitudes. Keep meditating on it. And as I said right at the beginning, make the Beatitudes an item for prayer just as the lord taught us to do in what we call the lord’s prayer.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

The Nine Beatitudes and the Nine-fold Fruit of the Spirit

There are nine Beatitudes. What is the internal unity of these nine? Notice an important principle that Paul is a commentator extraordinaire of the teaching of the lord Jesus. In other words, what we have in the NT is the text which is the teaching of the lord Jesus, and the commentary which is Paul’s exposition and application of the words of the lord Jesus. When you are having difficulty understanding precisely the meaning of what the lord Jesus is saying, you will find somewhere in the teaching of Paul the matter well expounded and much more clearly set forth than we could do ourselves.

There are nine Beatitudes, Let’s see whether Paul has written about something that has a nine-fold application. Immediately most will be aware that the fruit of the Spirit has a  ninefold application Galatians. 5: 22-23. Is this a coincidence?
When you put the Beatitudes, nine of them on this side, and the fruit of the Spirit, nine on the other side, you will immediately be inclined to say: “No, I don’t see any correspondence. One starts ‘blessed are the poor in spirit’ and the other says ‘the fruit of the Spirit is love’.” Well, not so fast, because Paul is a commentator and he does not simply repeat the Beatitudes, he explains their content.

Is the Correspondence Coincidental?

First, let us consider the question whether this matter of nine in each case, is purely coincidental. We do not have very far to go to look for a confirmation because in Galatians 5, in the same chapter, a few verses earlier, the apostle Paul speaks of the works of the flesh.

Let us turn to Galatians 5:19“Now the works of the flesh are plain”; they are: “fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, selfishness, dissension, [party spirit, envy, drunkenness,] carousing”.

He goes on to say, “I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” So we understand that any professing Christian who does the works of the flesh, no matter how often they go to church, no matter how big a Bible they lug around, this kind of person, the apostle Paul says, will not enter into the kingdom of God, that is, they will not inherit age upon age lasting life.

Notice that the subject here is the kingdom of God, exactly as in the Beatitudes.

The first beatitude begins, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of God” and the eighth beatitude also says, “Blessed are you when you are persecuted for righteousness’ sake”; these are the people who shall inherit the kingdom of God.

Did you count how many works of the flesh there are? How many does Paul mention? He mentions 15 categories of this kind. 15 categories! Now again I was interested to see whether Paul has simply, more or less, made up these 15 categories, simply from his mind or whether these 15 categories were also based somewhere on the lord’s teaching. Immediately, of course the lord’s words in Matthew and Mark come to mind and so let’s  look at the lord’s teaching in Mark 7:21-22 where you will see a list there which says, “For from within, out of the heart of man come evil thoughts, fornication, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, foolishness.” How many did you count? 13. “Aha!” you say, “13! Paul got 15. 2 are missing!”
Not so fast because, we have what is known as synoptic parallels. This same message is also recorded in Matthew but interestingly enough with 2 - notice 2 - differences, and if you add these two differentiations from the parallel passage in Matthew, what do you get? You get a list of 15.

What a surprise! Paul was a very thorough man. He missed nothing. What are the two things in Matthew that are not mentioned in Mark? Well, in the Matthew list (in Matthew 15:18-19), which is shorter than Mark’s, you will find two things that are not mentioned in Mark. One of these is in v. 19 which is a ‘false witness’. The term ‘false witness’ does not occur in Mark’s list.

Now If you depend on an English translation, you will completely miss that. The English translations have obliterated an important difference by their translations. You see in Matthew 15:18 the word there is “evil thoughts” and here you have “dialogismoi poneroi”, that is, their thoughts are evil, but in Mark the word is quite different in Greek. The word is not “poneros” but “kakos”. It is a different word. Yet, if you look at the RSV, you will find both translated as evil thoughts as though the original had exactly the same word. That is why a bible student cannot depend upon English translations;  because important distinctions are obliterated, with no regard for the difference in the words.

The difference is not only that there is a different word there; the difference extends to the fact that one has the article and the other does not have the definite article. That is, in Matthew the word is anarthrous, it occurs without the definite article, whereas in Mark you have the definite article occurring in that section. So there are two important distinctions and yet you would not gather from the English translation that there was any distinction at all.

Anyone with some degree of familiarity of Greek will know that there is a distinction between evil and bad in Greek, i.e., that these words are not at all the same. The words are used differently and advisedly differently.
Archbishop Trent states in his study of the synonyms of the NT. He says the distinction between the word “kakos” in Mark and the word “poneros” in Matthew can be summed up like this: the word “kakos” means ‘bad’ [but the word “poneros” means evil]. The bad person (i.e. the one used in Mark) may be content to perish in his own corruption, but the evil person (i.e. the one used in Matthew) is not content unless he is corrupting others as well and drawing them into the same destruction with himself. So what you have in Mark is the word that somebody is bad. He is content just to corrupt himself or let himself be corrupted. But in Matthew the word is ‘evil’, that is, somebody evil is distinct from somebody who is bad in that he wants not only to be corrupt himself but he wants to corrupt somebody else. He wants to drag somebody else into sin. That is a big distinction there.

You cannot, like the RSV, translate the 2 different terms simply both equally with the same words - “evil thoughts”. That is not correct.

From this we see that both lists have the same number of items. Paul’s list has 15 items. Mark and Matthew put together (because they are parallels and belong together) in fact also have a net total of 15 items. Could that be a coincidence?

So, the fruit of the Spirit and the Beatitudes, both have 9 things mentioned, and the works of the flesh have 15 items, in each case. I think you must begin to realize there cannot be a mere coincidence there.

We have already noticed the reference in Galatians, and in the Beatitudes, to the kingdom of God. This is all the more significant when you realize that the term ‘kingdom of God’ is not that frequent in Paul, occurring only 14 times.

Now having established this, let us return to the Beatitudes to search for an internal unity, an internal spiritual element that connects together all of 9 Beatitudes. What might it be? What could it be?

Works of the Flesh Are the Consequences of the Thoughts    of the Heart

Well, we have already noticed that, if you put these two lists of 9 side by side, you will see that, of course, they do not correspond to each other.
Why? It is very important. When you study the Bible, look very carefully at the words. These two lists are distinct from each other; that is the teaching of the lord Jesus and Paul have an internal connection but are distinct from each other in a very important way. What way? Well, if you looked at the lists of evil, what did you see?

Did you read carefully there? The lord Jesus said, “Out of the heart of the natural man proceeds 15 kinds of evil things.” These are not just 15 evil things; these are just categories.
There are 15 categories which include all kinds of different evils under those same names.

Now out of the heart is what the lord Jesus is talking about, the heart attitude. That is what Paul is speaking about. Paul said, “The works of the flesh are”, and 15 categories follow. Now do you follow what happens?
You see what the lord Jesus is talking about is the inward thoughts, but Paul as an expositor is explaining what will be the consequences of those evil thoughts. Therefore you do not expect the two lists to correspond exactly because one is speaking about what you comes from within, your heart; is concerned with your inner attitude when you are unregenerate – unconverted; when God has not come into your life to change you. Paul is talking about what happens when these thoughts bear fruit in action, when the thoughts become works of the flesh.

Bear this important distinction in mind. The nine aspects of the fruit of the Spirit correspond numerically and otherwise to the nine beatitudes. This is the fruit that God bears in the regenerate - converted person when He enables them to express these nine holy and beautiful attitudes, these nine godly inner attitudes are called the fruit of the Spirit.

The lord is talking about inner attitudes. Paul is speaking of the results of those attitudes, what fruit they produce. When we come to the spiritual parallel we see exactly the same point. When you look at the Beatitudes, you see it is talking about the inner attitude. “Blessed are the poor in spirit?” “Blessed are the pure in heart....”
Again the lord Jesus is talking about the heart attitude; He is talking about the internal attitude of a spiritual man/woman. Paul is speaking about the fruit of the Spirit, the counterpart of the works of the flesh.

You cannot take a man’s inner being away from him; his thoughts, his feelings, his attitude; but you see his works, that is, the fruit his inner attitude produces. These are two very important things. In each case the lord is speaking about inner attitude. Paul is expounding and explaining what happens when you have this kind of inner attitude. If you have sinful inner attitudes then you will have the works of the flesh which he describes in these parallel 15 items.

Paul is not going over the Beatitudes and repeating them. He expects his hearers, who are believers, to have been instructed in the teaching of the lord Jesus already. He is expounding to them the works that come out of these kinds of evil thoughts and what fruit is produced that comes out of these holy thoughts.

Paul as a commentator has the task of explaining; explicitly what are the things that will follow either in the result of holy thoughts or evil thoughts. Once you perceive all these, I think you will begin to see that in this whole matter something very wonderful happens.

Poor in Spirit and Love Are Foundational

Let us now try to follow through this observation, and see whether our observation is correct.

The first beatitude says, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” and the first fruit of the Spirit is love.

I would like you, first of all, to notice that the first beatitude is a foundational statement that in a way includes in itself the other eight beatitudes which follow.

The same is true for the fruit of the Spirit. The first fruit ‘love’ is in a way a fruit that contains all the other eight within itself.

That is why Paul did not say ‘the fruits of’ (plural). He said, “fruit of the Spirit”, a single fruit which has an eight-fold manifestation, like a cluster of grapes. There is just one cluster, but has 9 grapes on it. They are all part of the one thing. There is an internal unity in all these.

So to be poor in spirit [to realize that one is helpless and unable to carry out what God requires of an by themselves] is a foundation statement from which all the other Beatitudes derive, and love is the foundation fruit from which the other 8 follow.

If you do not have love, you will not have, joy, you will have not peace. None of the others will follow. If you are not poor in spirit [realize your spiritual poverty], neither will you mourn for sin; neither will you have this hungering and thirsting for righteousness; neither will you have  meekness; all these things follow from that foundation element: love.

But now look at it like this: the way to study the Bible is to ask one question. And the reason why Paul is so remarkable a commentator, so profound in his insight into the meaning of God’s word is that when he reads the Bible and looks at a passage, he applies to it himself, to see what fruit it will produce. When you study the Bible, think of it like this. The lord Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for they shall inherit the kingdom, for theirs is the kingdom of God.” Say to yourself, “Lord, help me to realize that I am poor in spirit and thus unable on my own to do what you ask of me in your word. Lord, by your grace, I will understand what it really means to be poor in spirit. What will happen to me when I realize that I am poor in spirit, that I can do nothing of and by myself to please you?” The answer will come.

If you come to Him realizing the poverty of your spirit, you will know from experience what God will do with you, when you come to Him with the sense of utter dependence: “come to Him in poverty of spirit”, that is, “I come to you, Lord, having nothing in myself. Have pity upon me a sinner, spiritually impoverished, unable to carry out Your plan and purpose for me in my own strength”.

Do you know what God will do? He will pour forth His graceful kindness and love upon you! That is what He will do. And you will experience Him! You will experience the in pouring of His love into your life. Then you will  come to the understanding that you are poor in spirit and have no means to do God’s will, and therefore need to have His Spirit to indwell you, in order that His love will be poured into your heart!” That is why Paul said that, exactly those words in Romans 5:5 that “God has shed abroad His love into our hearts by His Holy Spirit.”

Paul is speaking about experience. He says, “I know it because He has shed abroad, He has poured forth His love into my heart by the Holy Spirit.” You see how perfectly there it follows.

If you will come to Him as a sinner realizing your poverty of spirit, unable to do His will on your own power, you will experience His grace, His loving kindness, and His spiritual bounty that He will pour forth upon you.

Mourning and Joy

Now if you study the Bible not academically, but spiritually, you will see that Paul’s conclusion is exactly borne out by experience. The same is true if you go right through the Beatitudes. What happens to those who mourn; who mourn over their own sins; who mourn over the sins of other people; who mourn over the sins of the called-out Assembly – the Israel of God; just as Ezra and Nehemiah mourned over the sins of Israel. When Ezra said; “Lord, we have sinned. We, your people Israel, have sinned wretchedly. Have pity upon us.” What happened?

What happens when you mourn for sin? Well, He because of the sin offering sacrifice of His son Jesus, He grant unto you, forgiveness of your sins What happens when you are forgiven of your sins? You will be filled with joy. That is exactly what the parallel passage in Luke says. In Luke 6:21  “Blessed are you that weep now, for you shall laugh.” You shall laugh. You will be filled with joy.

Do you see what Paul is doing? He is drawing forth the consequences of applying the Sermon on the Mount into your life. If you come forth mourning for sins; mourning for the sins of others; mourning for the sins of the called-out Assembly – the Israel of God; but never forgetting mourning over your own sins; then as the Lord Jesus also said in Luke 6: 21: “Blessed are you that weep now, for you shall laugh”, that is, you will be filled with joy. There you find that the second fruit of the Spirit corresponds exactly with the inner attitude of the disciple that mourns. You mourn for sin; that is what you need to do; and God will, on His part through His Spirit, fill you with joy.

Meekness and Peace

We proceed to the third beatitude. “Blessed are the meek....” What happens if you think to yourself, “What will happen to me if I come before God in a meek, humble and, contrite [having sorrow and remorse for sinning] attitude; what will happen is that you will experience God’s peace being poured into your heart. You are going to see what God will do in your life. You will experience a peace that you never understood before. Of course, that is exactly what the lord Jesus said in Matthew 11: 28-29: “Come unto me all of you who are weary and heavy laden. Learn of me, for I am meek and lowly of spirit and you shall find rest; peace unto your soul.” That is the consequence of meekness: peace unto your entire being.

Paul did not fail to notice this connection between meekness and peace in the very words of the lord Jesus. Besides, his own experience confirms it.

Hungering and Thirsting for Righteousness... and Patience

What happens if you hunger and thirst for righteousness? When you hunger and thirst for God?

“Hungering and thirsting”; notice the present continuous tense. You keep on hungering and thirsting for righteousness. What will that do for you? That will build in you a spiritual endurance where it is translated sometimes as steadfastness, sometimes as endurance.  So many believers do not have endurance. They run into difficulties and immediately the white flag goes up. They say to Satan, “Okay, okay. I surrender. Don’t kill me now. I surrender.” We have so many surrendering Christians. They have not experienced what Paul says concerning the life we can have in the lord Jesus that: “God always gives us the victory through His anointed one Jesus our lord.”

Paul did not experience spiritual defeat because he implemented spiritual endurance in his life and trusting completely in God’s anointed one always gained the victory.

Okay, sometimes you get knocked down but that is not defeat. Paul said, he got knocked down, but he always got up and moved forward towards the goal set before him by his lord and master, Jesus. That is the way to do it! We too often get knocked down, but not knocked out! No, no, because God’s anointed one always gives makes a way for us to be victorious. Left to ourselves, Satan would wipe the floor with us. He would make a doormat out of us; he would trample us. But in God’s anointed one we always gain the victory. So what happens to those who hunger and thirst for righteousness? They learn endurance. What trains us so well in spiritual endurance as learning to persevere in our hunger and thirst for righteousness; all through our spiritual lives? We are never to be complacent, never satisfied to even think, “Well, I have already reached spiritual stature. I do not need to press on anymore.”

No! The reason why you press on is because you have developed spiritual endurance by continually hungering and thirsting after righteousness. Those who do not press on are the ones who give up. Don’t be a static believer, keep moving on!

Merciful and Kindness

Let us go to the next point: the merciful. In the Beatitudes you have, “Blessed are the merciful” and the counterpart in the fruit of the Spirit is kindness. These two words are so close in meaning that there is hardly a need for drawing a connection. In fact the words ‘merciful’ and ‘kindness’, are constantly linked in the NT. Take for example Titus 3:4 where you have this word for ‘kindness’ which is in the fruit of the Spirit here, and in v. 5 you have the word for ‘mercy’. Kindness and mercy; one is simply the consequence of another. One is simply so internally linked with the other that no fuller definition is required. Or take for example, Ephessians 2:7; there you have ‘kindness’. In v. 4 you have ‘mercy’. Kindness and mercy are constantly linked. In 1 Peter 2:3 you have ‘kindness’ and in v. 10 you have ‘mercy’. These are constantly linked to each other.

Pure in Heart and Goodness

In the beatitude, “Blessed are the pure in heart”, we see the correspondence to the fruit of the Spirit of ‘goodness’ very easily. The connection is so obvious that there is hardly need for anything to be said. The connection is even explicitly stated, for example, in 1 Timothy 1:5 where you find the word ‘pure’ just as you have here in the Sermon on the Mount, directly connected with the word ‘good’ as is in the fruit of the Spirit; the pure in heart, the good of conscience. Pure and good, they are simply synonymous terms.

Peacemakers and Faithfulness

When we come to the seventh one, “Blessed are the peacemakers”, the corresponding fruit of the Spirit is faith, more specifically, faithfulness. The Greek word for ‘faith’ is the same word for ‘faithfulness’. There is in fact no difference in the Greek. You will find that for example the RSV sometimes translates the word as ‘faith’, sometimes as ‘faithfulness’. There is not any real distinction from the point of view of the lexicon. The peacemaker is a person who can be described as faithful because such a person is one who is walking faithfully in the footsteps of the Master. Why did the lord Jesus take up the cross? In order to be a peacemaker; to reconcile us to his God and his Father Yehovah. Why does the lord Jesus call us to take up the cross? Well, when we studied this beatitude we saw it already! Because, we are also, as Paul says, given “the ministry of reconciliation”. So when you are following in Jesus footsteps, doing the work that he did, being a reconciler, a peacemaker, that is the test of faithfulness. It is so obvious, so clear. And in fact the words ‘faithfulness’, ‘faith’ and ‘peace’ are linked together in 2 Timothy 2:22.

Persecution and Gentleness

So we press on to the eighth beatitude, “persecuted for righteousness’ sake”. What is the corresponding fruit of the Spirit? Well, the corresponding fruit of the Spirit is gentleness. Persecuted for righteousness’ sake; gentleness. The correspondence is extremely clear. Why? How should a Christian behave when he is persecuted for righteousness’ sake? Should he shout back? Should he revile back? Should he behave in an aggressive manner? No! His attitude is to be one of gentleness. As Peter says in 1 Peter 2:23, when Jesus was reviled He did not revile again, that is, when He was abused, ridiculed, laughed at, He did not retaliate in any way. He was gentle. He was meek. That is what meekness is about; one does not strike back. When he was reviled, he reviled not again. Peter said to the disciples, you be like him. When you are ridiculed, when you are mocked, when you are trampled upon, you do not revile back again. You do not shout back; you do not talk back. You will be like Him: meek, gentle. That is why Paul speaks of the meekness and patience of God’s anointed one in 2 Corinthians 10:1.
This was the pattern of Paul’s own life under persecution. We can look at what Paul says about how he behaved when he was persecuted for righteousness’ sake in 1 Corinthians 4:12. I find this passage so like God’s anointed one, Jesus. I would like to read this to you from v. 11: “To the present hour we hunger and thirst (you need a lot of endurance for that as we have noticed), we are ill-clad and buffeted and homeless (like God’s anointed one who had nowhere to lay His head), and we labour, working with our own hands. When reviled” - what did he do? He did not revile again; “When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; when slandered, we try to conciliate (that is, make peace); we have become, and are now, as the refuse of the world, the offscouring of all things.” We are treated like garbage and we take it meekly, gently. Now this I find so beautiful.

There you see the parallel between this beatitude and the fruit of the Spirit. “Blessed are they who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake” and then the fruit of the Spirit. What is the blessing? The spiritual blessing comes forth now in the form of gentleness, then in the form of inheriting the kingdom of God. The fruit of the Spirit is gentleness under persecution. Where can we see the true gentleness of a person, his true character? It will be under persecution. We can all smile when times are good. What we really are will appear when times are hard.

Being Reviled and Persecuted and Having Self-Control

What is the last beatitude? “Blessed are you,” the lord Jesus says, “when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account”. You are slandered; false stories are told about you; all kinds of lies are repeated about you. There is no truth in them at all and you are just having your reputation blackened. Your name is sullied; you are falsely treated in this way, how should you behave? You see the fruit of the Spirit? When ever did you need more desperately that fruit of the Spirit under those circumstances in self-control? How easily when we are falsely accused that we fight back. We are willing to take it when we deserve to be reprimanded. We can still be gentle because we feel that we are suffering justly. We wanted to suffer like this; it is a nice to have the feeling of being a martyr in some ways. When we are suffering for God’s anointed one, we can take it gently. But the one time we cannot take it and we will not take it is when people slander us and say false things about us. Then our anger arises; then we are going to strike back, because we feel, “This is not right! This is not true! Because I did not do this and you have not the right to say that about me.” Paul says, “No, no. Do not worry. The fruit of the Spirit when you endure false accusations is self-control.” It is during those times when you most desperately need that fruit of the Spirit of self-control, that you do not allow yourself to get angry, to lose your temper. None of these will be glorifying to God. Rather, exercise self-control. Let the Spirit of God help you so to live that you show forth the beauty of His anointed one.

Which Comes First - The Beatitudes or the Fruit of the Spirit?

I think you have seen by now how obvious, how clear is the connection between the fruit of the Spirit, on the one hand, and the Beatitudes on the other. We see this internal spiritual connection right there, but we cannot finish at this point if we are going to understand the matter correctly.

We have noticed already so far that the Beatitudes have to do with internal attitudes whereas the fruit of the Spirit is something that God indwelling Spirit does in us. The Beatitudes come first because we have to put them in practice in our lives in order to experience the fruit of the Spirit of the living God Yehovah.

We Reap What We Sow!

Let us read what Paul has to say, as we return to Galatians again. In Galatians Paul is continuing to expound his point about the fruit of the Spirit and the works of the flesh. This is what he says in Galatians 6 and we read from v. 7. He says to the Galatians, “Do not be deceived; God is not mocked, for whatever a man sows, that he will he reap.” What will you reap? It depends on what you sow! That is very obvious. You do not have to be a genius to understand that. You want to reap the fruit of the Spirit?

Then you have got to sow something to the Spirit. Do you want to become a person who is spiritually powerful and that can be used by God? That depends on what you sow to the Spirit. Now that is what he goes on to say in the next verse, in v, 8: “For he who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption; but he who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.” Eternal life is something that we are to reap. But in order to reap, we have to sow something, because you do not reap anything if you do not sow anything. If you sow the wrong thing, you reap the wrong thing. If you sow to the flesh, you will reap corruption and death. If you sow to the Spirit, you will reap age upon age lasting life. It depends on what you sow.

You cannot go on to become a spiritually productive servant of the lord Jesus by sowing to the flesh. All that you will reap from sowing to the flesh is corruption and death. So then in v. 9 Paul goes on to say: “let us not grow weary in well-doing, for in due season we shall reap (a harvest), if we do not lose heart.”

There is the patience. You keep hungering and thirsting for righteousness, you have to have the endurance. You do not lose heart. So then, as we have the opportunity let us do good to all men.

Now I hope that you can see which comes first, the harvest, or the sowing? The fruit of the Spirit is the outward manifestation of what God does in us, but to get fruit, you have to sow something; the fruit is the harvest. You do not get any harvest if you do not do the sowing. So Paul is going on to say, “If you sow to the Spirit, you shall reap the fruit. If you do not sow anything, you get nothing. And if you sow to the flesh, you reap corruption.” “If you sow sparingly,” he said in another place, “you will reap sparingly. If you sow abundantly you will reap abundantly.” Whether you get a big harvest or a small harvest depends on what you sow, and how much you sow. Paul, is putting the responsibility on you and I. He will not allow us to say, “Lord, we did not get a big harvest because You did not do much work in me.” That would be an insult to God. God’s power is sufficient for big harvests and is fully available to each person. It depends on what you sow. That is very important.

Learn from Paul - Pursue Spiritual Things!

What does it mean to talk about sowing? What does it mean to sow to the Spirit? Well, it depends, in other words, on what your spiritual input is? The harvest is the output. What you reap is the output. What is your input and where did you put the input? The sowing is something we do. That is very obvious if we are going to get any harvest. It is something we must do. There is a word that Paul uses time and again; the word is to pursue, to make it your goal. The reason why Paul is a spiritual man of God is not at all accidental, nor is it a question of predestination. It is a question of what kind of a person he was by the grace of God. What kind of a person he was becomes obvious when you study his writings, his letters.

There are so many words you could study but notice one particular word, it is the word ‘pursue’. The Greek word is “dioko” - pursue, which is sometimes in the RSV translated rather weakly by the words “make it your goal”. The word “dioko” means pursue. It expresses a certain intensity. It expresses a straining of every nerve in order to get to the prize, the goal. This word is used many times, at least 8x in the letters of Paul, for example, in Romans 12:13; or Romans 14:19; or 1 Corinthians 14:1 to pursue love, to make love your all; Philippians 3:12 which is so characteristic of Paul. “I pursue - I press forward, towards the mark.” There is intensity! That is the intensity of the input.

The reason why we have a generation of feeble Christians is because there is no intensity of input. I see Christians who are absolutely unmotivated, who have no goal, no pressing forward, no striving in the spirit. Nothing! They sit back waiting for a harvest when they have sowed absolutely nothing. No wonder they go through life with nothing. How can we expect God to give us a spiritual harvest when we have sowed absolutely nothing? I beg you to really think on this point very deeply.

That is why the Beatitudes comes first! That is the attitude of your input, that is what you sow. Come to God as somebody who is wholly committed to Him, fully yielded to Him, entirely open to Him,that He may fill you with all His fullness.” If you come with that kind of an attitude, if you pursue this kind of an attitude with steadfastness, and steadfastly pursue such an attitude, you shall be filled with the fullness of God. “He shall pour His love into you in overflowing measure by His Holy Spirit because now you have opened your heart wide to Him, as He is your all. I have sowed with a God enabled spiritual attitude which makes it possible for Him to give me a spiritual harvest. It is all of God and none of me!

God’s Part and Ours

This then is what the lord is teaching us in the Sermon on the Mount: what we are to sow, what our spiritual direction should be, what we are to pursue, what is the direction of our high calling that we must press forward to. Paul did not say, “Well, we have a high calling and I am waiting to be lifted up by the scruff of my neck to the high calling. I have a high calling but I am waiting for God to attach the booster jets to my back so that He can shoot me to the high calling.” No, he says, “I press forward”. This is what we should be  doing; pressing forward so that God, by His grace, will then empower us onwards. God cannot do anything in you unless you have the right attitude of mind and heart.
God looks on the heart and then act accordingly. I am sure that as a Christian you have discovered that already. You have to have the right attitude. For example, if you do not repent to begin with, then He cannot forgive you. His forgiveness is there like a vast ocean ready to forgive your sins. But if you do not repent, that impenitence is like a dike that holds back the ocean of His forgiveness. That ocean of forgiveness cannot come into your life. That water cannot fertilize the fields of your life because of the lack of repentance on your part holds back the whole of God’s grace. Now if we can comprehend this principle as regards repentance, it is easy to understand this on any other level.

Strive to Be the Kind of Person Blessed by God!

The same principle holds true. God cannot do anything for you until you open your heart to Him. It is said, for example, that right at the beginning of the ministry of the lord Jesus, the he could not do many mighty works in Nazareth because of their unbelief. Their unbelief held back the grace of God. The same is true all the way through your spiritual life. These Beatitudes then, brothers and sisters, you have to understand, is what the lord Jesus is saying to His disciples, “Blessed are these kinds of people”.
Now you must strive to be the kind of person who is blessed by God. He said to His disciples, “You make this kind of person the objective of your life. You become that kind of person, because that kind of person is blessed by God.” That must be the goal of every disciple. I hope by now the whole objective, the whole teaching, the internal spiritual connection of the lord’s teaching on the Beatitudes becomes very, very clear to us.

These Beatitudes are not meant to be intellectualized. They are meant to be applied into our life as the goal and direction which we are to follow. Then we are going to experience the power of God in our lives in a way that we never knew, never dreamed was possible, until our lives are so open to God through our realizing our poverty of spirit that He will fill us with all His fullness. I pray that God will truly help each one of us to understand these life-giving words of the lord Jesus.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Underneath are The Everlasting Arms

A Sermon preached at Bethesda Chapel, Great George Street, Bristol, on Sunday Evening, July 25th,1897· There is none like unto the God of Jeshurun, who rides upon the heaven in thy help, and in His exceliency in the sky.

Edited by Bruce Lyon

The eternal God is your refuge – dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms: and He will thrust out the enemy from before thee; and will say, Destroy them. Israel then will dwell in safety alone: the fountain of Jacob shall be upon a land of corn and wine; also His heavens wiIl drop down dew. Happy are you, 0 Israel: who is like unto you, 0 people saved by Yehovah, the shield of your help, and who is the sword of your exceIiency! and your enemies wiIl be found liars unto you; and you will tread upon their high places. (Deuteronomy 33:26-29)

THERE is none like unto the God of Jeshurun, who rides upon the heaven for your help, and in His exceliency on the sky." "Jeshurun" is the name for the Israelites; it means "the righteous ones." They are accounted thus on the ground of the work of the Messiah. In themselves most ungodly, very ungodly, often and often open idolators, and yet by reason of their union to the Messiah, they are called, "The righteous nation."

In the first part of the chapter we have the blessing of each of the tribes. "Your Thummim and your Urim" (verse 8). Through their instrumentality, which was fixed in connection with their movements from the very first, the Israelites knew which way Yehovah would have them to go, how to act, and what to do under particular circumstances, when they desired to know the mind of God. "Let your Thummim and your Urim be with your holy one." After each of the twelve tribes of Israel had been individually blessed through the instrumentality of Moses, for the whole of Israel, the whole of Jeshurun (commencing with the 26th verse), there is a blessing pronounced. "There is none like unto the God of Jeshurun – the righteous ones." This is what our hearts continually say regarding the Father of our lord Jesus His anointed one. "There is none like unto You;" and this should fill our hearts with great comfort, that we have to do with one, Who is alone by Himself, with Whom no one can be compared, Who is almighty as to power, Who is infinite as to love; wisdom, grace, mercy, long-suffering, forebearance; and in Whom every blessing is to be found. None like Him!
"None like unto the God of Jeshurun!"

Then, of Him it is said as to His power, "Who rides upon the heavens," and He does it "for your help." One Who rides upon the heavens as almighty. It is only He that can do it, and He does do it for our help. How precious!

We are, therefore, beyond the power of our enemies, for on our side is He Who is able to ride on the clouds for our help! Who can do everything for our benefit; for that is the meaning of it.

 "Who rides upon the heaven in your help," or for the sake of helping you; "for your help." "And in His excellency in the sky."

In His almighty power, in His majesty, He rides on the sky. If this were continually before us, how peacefully we should go about, always remembering that our God and our helper in heaven can do everything, and not only can do everything, but is willing to do everything, for sinners who put their trust in His beloved son the lord Jesus His anointed one for salvation!

The great business of life, therefore, in the first place, is to be reconciled to God by faith in the lord Jesus God’s anointed one; and, in order that this may be the case, we have to own that we are sinners, that we deserve nothing but punishment - death, and then put our sole trust for salvation - deliverance in the lord Jesus God’s anointed one.

The moment we do so, we are regenerated, we obtain resurrection spiritual life, we become the children of God, and as such the heirs of God, and joint-heirs with the lord Jesus His anointed one; and this blessing we receive for ages upon ages to come; it will never be taken from us, as assuredly as we put our trust in Jesus for salvation.

"The Eternal God is your refuge – dwelling place, and underneath are the “Everlasting Arms”; and He shall thrust out the enemy from before you, and shall say, 'Destroy them!' "How precious again! "The Eternal God is your refuge," or your dwelling-place. We are in Him, one with Him, shall not be separated from Him, because we dwell in Him; He is our dwelling-place. Just like what we read in the 90th Psalm.
The Eternal God is our Refuge, our dwelling-place is found in Him, and underneath are the “Everlasting Arms” to protect us, to shield us, to keep us from harm, of every kind-for, in reality, we are kept from harm of every kind.

Sometimes it appears as if we had been injured, physically, mentally, spiritually; but it is often only in appearance, and nothing but in appearance. In reality we are watched over, cared for, looked after, and shielded and protected by His almighty power, and the eternal, unchangeable love of Yehovah, by which He has loved us in His anointed one Jesus. 0, how precious! How precious this!

And just in the degree in which we are enabled to realise it, to enter into it, and to appropriate it to ourselves, the result is peace and joy in our God and Father Yehovah. There is no trembling then, no fear then, no anxiety then, because we can say to ourselves, "God is on our side, God is for us; who can do us any harm?"

Weak though we are, His “Everlasting Arms” are under us, to shield us, to watch over us! "And He shall thrust out the enemy from before you, and shall say, 'Destroy them.'" We have here especially to notice that before the Israelites ever got into the promised land, this was stated regarding them, and thus it came to pass. It was not their sword that obtained the land for them finally; but it was because God was on their side. "He thrust out the enemy from before them," and in a variety of ways this was done. Among all the ways, all the means used, was that God sent hornets against their enemies to drive them out and to destroy them. "He shall thrust out the enemy from before you." And so it came to pass that they obtained the land, though they had to fight against seven great and mighty nations; but these seven nations could not stand before them, because Yehovah was against the enemies of the Israelites.
Yehovah was for them, habitually fighting their battles, and appearing on their behalf at all times and under all circumstances.

When there was a battle, great hailstones of the weight of more than one hundred pounds were smitten down on their enemies, whereby they were destroyed, so that more by the power of Yehovah, in one way or another manifested for the benefit of the Israelites, than by the sword of their own hand, were the enemies destroyed.

"He shall thrust out the enemy from before thee." So He did, and so He destroyed them; because He spoke the word, therefore it came to pass. "Israel then shall dwell in safety alone." The enemies destroyed, the Israelites were left, and they occupied the land; but notice particularly this word, "Shall dwell in safety alone," because the real, true safety of the Israelites consisted in that they were separated from the Canaanite nations.

The moment they mixed up with the Canaanite nations, their safety was at an end. And this is particularly to be noticed; that real, true spiritual blessing consists in separation from the ungodly.

If we would really be in safety, we have to live in separation from this present evil world, and not needlessly mix up with the ungodly.

In all temporal affairs, it may be necessary now and then that we meet with them and mix with them; but in all spiritual matters we should seek to walk in separation from the ungodly. In this, and in this alone, consists our real, true spiritual safety.

"The fountain of Jacob shall be upon a land of corn and wine; also His heavens shall drop down dew." Not merely a land of corn and wine, but a fountain given beside.

There was to be plenty of corn and wine in a land where everything was that was necessary. Water also, and dew also from heaven; and all this was given to the Israelites not because they deserved it, but as a token of their Father's love to them.

And up to this present day is Yehovah thus going on with regard to His children.

Everything that they really need, everything that is really good for them, everything that would truly prove a blessing to them, He is ready to give to them. And so, in our case, if the land of corn and wine were a blessing to us, it would be given to us; whatever is a real, true blessing Yehovah bestows, Yehovah delights to bestow, on His children. It is the very joy of His heart to do them good, at all times and under all circumstances; and He not only is willing to give them, where there is plenty of corn and wine, and plenty of water, but He also is ready to give them the dew in addition to these, so that everything may be there that tends to fruitfulness. All this for the purpose of making them as happy as they are capable of being while yet in the body.

Now, the result of all this. "Happy are you, 0 Israel; who is like unto you, 0 people saved by Yehovah, the shield of your help, and who is the sword of your exceliency; and your enemies shall be found liars unto you, and you will tread upon their high places." "Happy are you, 0 Israel."
Now, the solemn, momentous question here is, "Are we happy?" We should individually ask ourselves at this moment, "Am I happy? Am I truly happy? Spiritually happy?" Not merely, "Have I enough of the necessaries of life?" Not merely, "Have I enough so that I am not at present in great trouble and difficulty?" But, "Am I spiritually happy?" That is the momentous point; and this real, true happiness is alone to be obtained through faith in God’s anointed one.

We have to own before God that we are sinners, deserving no happiness; we have to own before God, that we are sinners, deserving nothing but punishment - death; and then to put our trust alone in Jesus God’s anointed one for the salvation of our souls. This brings about spiritual happiness.

At first it may be only in a small degree; but the more we ponder what God has done for us in His anointed one, the more we feed spiritually on the lord Jesus God’s anointed one, the more this peace and joy in God will increase. But there must be, first of all, a beginning made; and the question therefore is, "Have I the beginning of real, true, happiness in my soul? Do I know the lord Jesus God’s anointed onet? Have I come to him for the salvation of my soul? Do I simply look to him for salvation?" For without this, there is no real, true happiness to be had!

"Happy are you, 0 Israel; who is like unto you, O people saved by Yehovah?" Are we saved by Yehovah? That means, in other words, Do we comply with the conditions which Yehovah our God lays down in His word to save people? Do we put our trust in Jesus for the salvation of our souls? In doing so, the end will be peace and joy and happiness in a little degree; and the more we live on God’s anointed one, the more this real, true peace, joy, and happiness will increase.

"Who is like unto you, 0 people saved by Yehovah?" Who among us is able to say, "I am saved by Yehovah.” If the lord Jesus were to come round, I should be found a saved one; if the lord Jesus should take me now out of the world I am a saved one? Who among us is able to say this? By the grace of God I am one of those who are able to say it; and it is just this which makes me truly happy.

Without knowing this, there is no such thing as real, true happiness. "0 people saved by Yehovah!" Then of Yehovah it is further said, "He is the Shield of your help." He protects us. The shield was particularly for the sake of warding off the blows of the sword, or the power to harm of the dart; therefore the shield was used to protect. And so, for our protection, we are spiritually shielded, and God Himself is the shield. "Who is the sword of your exceliency." That is true!

It is God Himself Who is our sword, power, might, strength, and no accidents will come to us. It is not by our sword. It is not by our power, but by the arm of God, the power of God; and Him we have for us. He is on our side, and throughout all the ages to come He will be on our side, if we are believers in the lord Jesus His anointed one. "And your enemies shall be found liars unto thee." That is, shall be overturned, overthrown, conquered, shall have no power over you, but you will have power over them. "And you will tread upon their high places"; that is, will drive them out, will overpower them, will overcome them.

In their high places they make their boast; but you will take their high places, and conquer them. Now, once more, the great point is to know God’s anointed one, to be a believer in him, to be found in him.

Now by far the greater part of those hearing this have found Him, and are believers in the lord Jesus. Still there are a few present who are not yet believers in the lord Jesus; and, therefore, real, true happiness and safety are not found as yet in them. But they may secure the like happiness which we who are believers in Jesus God’s anointed one have obtained.

For we did not give it to ourselves, it was not by our goodness, merit, and worthiness that we came to what we have come, but by the mercy of God, through the grace of God, through faith in Jesus His anointed one wrought in us by the power of the God’s Holy Spirit – Breath - Love. And just as we, in the way of grace, obtained this blessing so any, in the way of grace also, may obtain a like blessing.

No one has to say, "I am too far from God." They cannot be! "I am too great a sinner." This cannot be! Because there is power in the blood of the lord Jesus God’s anointed one over all sin; and every sin of which we have been guilty may be forgiven us through faith in the lord Jesus God’s anointed one. 0, how precious that no one need despair!

Everyone who seeks salvation in God's own appointed way, that is by alone resting on His anointed one Jesus for salvation, after they have confessed to being sinners, will obtain the blessing. But if in the least degree we depend upon ourselves, and think that we have to save ourselves, or to do something in order that we may be saved, we are holding a grievous error, and we shall never obtain the blessing.

By the mercy of God, through faith in Jesus His anointed one, the oldest sinner, the greatest sinner, may obtain blessing; and, therefore, no one need despair as to the salvation of his soul.

Let us go hence, if we are not believers in the lord Jesus God’s anointed one, under the deep conviction that we, individually, may obtain the blessing, and that there is nothing to hinder us.

Once the blessing is obtained, little by little we shall be led on, by the grace of God, and by the help of God's Holy Spirit. God grant us individually a blessing according to our need.