“If thou, LORD, shouldest mark
iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?
God called us to account for every infraction, where would any of us be? Spurgeon says, “This verse shows that the
Psalmist was under a sense of sin, and felt it imperative upon him not only to
cry as a suppliant but to confess as a sinner.
Here he owns that he cannot stand before the great King in his own
righteousness, and he is so struck with a sense of the holiness of God, and the
rectitude of the law that he is convinced that no man of mortal race can answer
for himself before a Judge so perfect, concerning a law so divine.”
definition of stand means to remain or endure.
It has the idea of being wiped away.
We could not remain in the presence of a Holy God because of our
sinfulness. We cannot justify ourselves
before God. We have no ground upon which
to stand. We must be wiped from the
can rejoice that God does not reward us according to our iniquities, but is a
God of mercy. Exodus 33:21 holds another
use of the word, stand. “And the LORD said, Behold, there is a place
by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock.”
This usage means to station, but also has the idea of being
appointed or deputed. Praise the Lord!
There is a rock upon which we can stand.
That Rock is Christ. The God of
mercy has so ordained that we can stand beside Him clothed in righteousness
with our sin covered by the blood of His Son.
you standing in that solid position? Or,
are you still standing in your sin ready to be wiped away?
“Seest thou a man diligent in his
business? He shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean
men.” Proverbs 22:
Stanley wrote a book called, Success, God’s Way. It is an excellent book, by the way. He defines success as “the continuing
achievement of becoming the person God wants you to be and accomplishing the
goals God has helped you set.” Diligence
is one of the qualities necessary to see real success in your life. Success takes work. It doesn’t come to those who sit around
waiting for something grand to happen.
proverb teaches that those who learn to exercise diligence in their affairs
will be rewarded. They will be placing
or stationing themselves to stand before authorities and dignitaries. Truly, with diligence comes advancement. And, as a person grows in business, ministry,
or education there comes with it a greater social awareness and expertise. Further, those who are also successful notice
success. Hard workers respect other hard
third phrase of the proverbs says that the diligent will not stand before mean
men. It means that they will not be
placing themselves before obscure, insignificant or low men. The diligent person seeks out those who will
be a benefit to their goals. They are
“on their way up”. They are “climbing
choices aid in the success of the diligent.
Choices that are made with the future in mind, choices that create more
opportunity, these are the choices of the diligent, and thereby place him in
the position to move forward – to stand before kings.
choices are you making? Will they move
you forward? Will they help you to stand
before people with more authority and dignity than yourself? Or, are you feeding on the bottom of the pool?
“The LORD of hosts hath sworn,
saying, Surely as I have thought shall it come to pass: and as I have purposed,
so shall it stand.” Isaiah 14:24
24:14 and 36:36 records, “I the LORD have spoken it: It shall come to pass, and
I will do it.” Here in Isaiah the Lord
is telling us the same thing. Whatever
He has spoken, He will do. But even
further, it will stand. The definition
is to be established, fixed, and fulfilled or to confirm or ratify. What He has said is firmly fixed. It will happen. You can “mark His word.”
Isaiah the Lord is assuring Israel that He will judge Assyria. The Israelites will be freed from
bondage. But as you read on down to
verse 26 you find, “This is the purpose
that is purposed upon the whole earth: and this is the hand that is stretched
out upon all nations. For the LORD of
hosts hath purposed, and who shall disannul it? And his hand is stretched out,
and who shall turn it back?”
gives me great comfort to know that God is still in control of the nations. As I read of the horrors in the Middle East
and see the impotency of the Western nations it creates real fear. But when I come back to the fact that God
has a plan. It is established in the
heavens. It will stand and be completed
just as He has purposed. Then, and only
then, can I rest confident that all of the noise of today is but a part of
God’s eternal plan of the ages. Not one
thing will go amiss. Not one thing will
be able to disannul or stop the hand of God.
great is our God – whose Word will stand for eternity! Do you believe Him?
“That your faith should not stand
in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.”
I Corinthians 2:5
remember when this verse came alive to me.
I was working so hard to be a “good Christian” and a good servant. I was putting everything I had into service
and ministry. I was reading books about
Christian growth and being faced with challenges. I didn’t see how I could ever measure up to
those Christians who got up at five o’clock to spend an entire hour in prayer,
or those who saw ten souls saved every day. As I was tempted to believe that I
had to do the same, I became very discouraged.
I heard the voice of my Saviour assure me that I was using the wrong measuring
rod. What He had led others to do was
not going to be the same thing He led me to do.
What they had learned and experienced would not be the same things for
me to experience and learn. I needed to
put my faith in His power to work in my life instead of looking at others.
stand, as used in this verse, means to exist, to be based upon or founded
in. I was guilty of basing my faith upon
the words and wisdom of men, instead of relying upon the power of God. Oh, not that I didn’t learn some great stuff,
but the wisdom of men can never supersede the actual power of God’s Holy Spirit
working in the life of the individual.
It brought me to Colossians 2:3, “In
whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” True wisdom is found in Christ, in the fear
of the Lord. That is where I needed to
about you? Do you pay too much attention
to what men are saying and ignore the counsel of God? Are you, too, guilty of basing your faith
upon a wrong foundation? Where are you
“…and having done all, to
stand. Stand therefore, having your
loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of
righteousness.” Ephesians 6:13b & 14
first use of the word “stand” in this verse means to continue safe and sound,
to stand unharmed, ready or prepared. It
is the quality of a steadfast mind, one who does not hesitate or wavier.
second definition places upon us a requirement.
It means to cause or make to stand, to place or to establish a thing
causing it to stand.
was a great revelation when the Lord showed me that this is what He actually
requires of his servants – that they be able to stand. The battle belongs to the Lord. He will fight for us. We are called upon to stand in our
place. To not waiver or hesitate. To be steadfast. That is our priority, and we are to be about
doing the things that will cause us to stand - things that will establish us
and place us in a strong position for His glory.
the Lord goes on to tell us what will be needed in order to stand. We need truth wrapped around us. We need a heart of righteousness and feet
that enable us to walk with a steady pace.
Feet shod – covered – so as to protect from temptations and persecutions
in order that the gospel may go forth.
while “to stand” might sound like an inaction, it is most definitely requires
action. We are not to be just standing
around wondering what in the world is going on.
We are to be actively holding our place.
We are to be aware of our surroundings and anticipating the enemy’s
attack. Like watchmen on a tower, we are
to be vigilant.
are you? Are you vigilant? Or, are you just aimlessly wandering in your
Christian life and service? Do you stand
when temptation comes, or do you fall for every trick of the Devil? Are you in your place on Sunday, or sitting
on the couch?
“And among these nations shalt thou find no
ease, neither shall the sole of thy foot have rest: but the LORD shall give
thee there a trembling heart, and failing of eyes, and sorrow of mind…” Deuteronomy 28:65
is a portion of the judgment placed on the children of Israel as they were
forewarned that they would be scattered among the nations. It is a repeat of the same warning from
Leviticus 26:16 where the Lord says that this sorrow is a result of their
failure to keep his commandments. The
definition means fainting, pining, and languishing. They would find little joy
and no real rest and comfort in the nations among whom they came to dwell while
they remained outside the command of God.
we look not only at the history of Israel as recorded in God’s Word, but also
at the recorded history of mankind, we can see this is true. Most everywhere the Jews have settled has
brought them disruption, fear, trembling and actually sorrow of mind because
they know that Israel is their home.
They continually live as foreigners, even in nations where they are
born. They pine and languish for their
mother country – for Jerusalem and home.
paints a picture for us New Testament saints as well. Here we have no country. Our home is heaven. We, too, can find ourselves pining and
languishing as we wait to cross the river.
Romans 8:23 tells us that we also, “groan
within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our
way to look at this is to remind ourselves that if we are living outside the
command of God – living carnally or sinfully, we will find ourselves fainting,
pining and languishing. We will not find
the rest and enjoyment we think sin affords.
We will be more like Lot, who vexed his righteous soul by living around
and interacting with the wickedness of Sodom.
Sin does not bring comfort.
your mind sorrowful? Do you find
yourself pining? Best be asking, “For what
am I pining?” My heavenly home – or – because of sinful choices?
“Then should I yet have comfort; yea, I would
harden myself in sorrow: let him not spare; for I have not concealed the words
of the Holy One.”
old Job. He is in the midst of a most
perplexing and disheartening trial. One
he truly believes is not of his own making.
Of course, he has no idea about the conversation between God and
Satan. As he sits with his less than
comforting friends, he tries to figure out just why all this grief has come to
his life. He says, “I would harden myself in sorrow…”
gives us the idea of steeling oneself against the hardship. But, according to Barnes, that is not the
true explanation. Because the word
definitions are related to leaping and exulting, it is better understood to
mean that Job is ready to exult or rejoice if he were permitted to die. “He would triumph even in the midst of his
sorrow, if he might lie down and expire.”
He is well and truly finished.
would probably feel the same if we were in his shoes. But we can praise the Lord that He didn’t
give Job his request. There is a long
way to go from chapter six to God’s responses in chapters thirty-eight to
forty-one. We would have been so much
the poorer had Job not endured his trial.
can see two warning that might apply here.
First, steeling ourselves against or in the face of hardship is not what
God has in mind for trials. We are
better to cast ourselves upon the Lord and stay supple and willing than to
allow hardness or bitterness to overtake us.
And, second, we need to recognize that God has a purpose and plan in
every trial. Even those that we feel
might actually overtake cannot - if we stay focused upon Him.
in Job 13:15, Job comes to a more healthy attitude, one that has personally carried me through many trials, “Though
he slay me, yet will I trust in Him.”
you enduring serious trials? Stay
supple. Avoid bitterness. Allow God to have His way and surrender your
trial to him. The whole story isn’t
is better than laughter: for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is
made better.” Ecclesiastes 7:3
definition of sorrow as used here might surprise you. It would read: “Anger,
vexation, provocation and grief are better than hollow laughter.” Most of us equate sorrow with grief and loss. We have experienced death of a loved one and
know the depths to which the soul plunges as it works its way through the
grieving process. But to think of sorrow
as anger, vexation and provocation takes a bit more.
God really saying that anger is better than happiness? Or that to be vexed and provoked is better
than a peaceful and joyous life?
Swindoll says, “…Solomon is not advocating that we trudge through life
with tears in our eyes and frowns on our faces.
Rather, he is advising us to soberly reflect on the brevity and destiny
of our lives. This exercise can lead to
a lifestyle marked by wisdom and satisfaction.
On the other hand, those who refuse to deal with death, and who live
their lives pursuing pleasure, are foolish.”
knows that the “easy path” is not the best path. He knows that if we seek to live frivolous
and shallow lives it will not produce the strength of character necessary to
equip us to face the harsh realities of life.
Barnes says, “The mind which bears itself equally in human concerns,
whether they be pleasant or sorrowful, must always be glad, free, and at
peace.” He also translates the word
sorrow to mean seriousness.
if we really want a happy, joyous life, we must be willing to equip ourselves
with qualities that will create true joy.
Conscientiousness and circumspect living are better choices than
frivolous and superficial lifestyles.
Grief and difficulty will not kill us, but equip us to live richer
and fuller lives.
“For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not
to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.” II Corinthians 7:10
Here we have two types of sorrow. Godly sorrow, which is from above – directed
or diffused by God, and worldly sorrow, from below – sorrow as a result of sin
or living in a sinful world. Godly
sorrow produces life. Worldly sorrow
main story behind the two books to Corinth is Paul’s instruction on handling
sin in the church. He had written a
stern letter and it had achieved its purpose.
The Corinthians had repented.
Theirs was not just a passing regret, but rather a true sorrow for
sin. It was genuine repentence.
Bible gives us two good illustrations concerning these two types of
sorrow. We can read of the reaction of
Judas, who sold our Lord. His was a
worldly sorrow. This Bible says he
“repented himself”. This means that he
was deeply regretful. He did not repent,
but rather, he committed suicide. Peter,
on the other hand, also guilty of denying the Lord, “remembered the word of
Jesus…went out and wept bitterly.”
(Matthew 26:75) His was a genuine repentence. He was restored to ministry and relationship.
repent means to change one’s mind.
Christians need to repent when they are aware of sin in their lives. Not in order to be saved again, but in order
to restore close fellowship with God.
That is the way of godly sorrow.
a Christian practices worldly sorrow, they will find themselves bound by grief
and annoyance. They will experience
affliction in their soul. Rest will not
come until they change their minds and turn from the sin that is grieving them.
way of restoration for us all is repentance.
We must come to agree with God that He is right. We must allow the Spirit to convict us and
bring us back into a right relationship.
you wallowing in your own self-pity or sinfulness? Do you, like Judas, regret your choices, but
fall short of repenting and leaving them behind? Are your choices producing life or death to
blessing of the LORD, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it.”
definition of sorrow in this verse takes another twist. It means pain, hurt, toil, or hardship. This verse brings great joy to my heart. It tells me that the things God brings to my
life, the things he gives me, are for my enrichment. He does not add pain and hardship.
have been so blessed throughout my life.
God has brought so very may blessing to me – amazing things I did not
deserve – and with each one I knew it was from his hand and for my
benefit. Nearly all of them came without
my seeking them. They were just
blessings that fell into my lap and I knew they were from the hand of God. Sometimes they have been huge monetary
blessings – like the time we were informed that $15,000 was in an account in
our name. That really happened! And some of them were simple – like when God
cleared all of my appointments because He knew I needed a day off. Some were answers to the secret desires of my heart
– like the time he sent me to see the Great Wall of China. And others were confirmations of his love –
like when a friend calls or a letter arrives that gives my heart a boost.
truth is that I do not have to labour to be rich. I am already rich in Christ. The depth of the richness in which I have the
privilege to dwell cannot be dimmed by the wealth sought by this world. All of the world’s struggling to climb the
ladder or create a fancy lifestyle comes with pain and hardship. Resting in Christ, allowing him to be my
wealth and to provide my needs, affords me a confidence and peacefulness than
no amount of cash could purchase.
you struggling to gain something? Does
peace elude you? Are you aware of God’s
blessings upon your life? If not – maybe
you need to stop and look for God’s hand.
It is there and it does not come with sorrow.
“A man shall be satisfied with good
by the fruit of his mouth: and the recompense of a man’s hands shall be
rendered unto him.”
will be satisfied with good by what we say.
To be satisfied means to have enough.
It denotes happiness, contentedness, and completeness. According to this proverb it is directly
related to our speech. Good words and hard work pay off. They bring reward and satisfaction. The man who guards his tongue and uses his
words rightly can pillow his head in peace.
He can rest confident that he has sown good things and that reward will
are so many other Bible verses about what comes out of our mouths. For example:
15:11 “Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which
cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.”
3:10, 11 “Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to
be. Doth a fountain send forth at the
same place sweet water and bitter?”
25:11 “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.”
15:2 “The tongue of the wise useth
knowledge aright: but the mouth of fools poureth out foolishness.”
just these four you see that our speech can be either a curse or a
blessing. Our speech, they say, betrays us. Our choice of words, intonation, and volume
are strong indicators of what is taking place in our hearts. Remember that verse in Luke 6:45? “A good
man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good;
and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which
is evil: for of the abundance of the
heart his mouth speaketh.”
are your words like? Full of anger? Impatience?
Envy? Remember – if you wind up
having to eat your words, be sure they suit your palate. Are you satisfied with your speech? Do your words bring good things to your life?
“The backslider in heart shall be
filled with his own ways: and a good man shall be satisfied from himself.” Proverbs 14:14
simply must address the first phrase of this proverb. The backslider is filled with his own
ways. Those who chose to allow the
desires of their own hearts to drive their lives will find themselves filled
with more and more desires. They will
never be satisfied. Why? Simply because the things this world offers
will never truly satisfy.
next phrase, then, speaks volumes, “a good man shall be satisfied from
himself.” There is much to be said about
a person who is satisfied with his life.
The wonderments, strivings, and discontentedness of the self-driven man
have been replaced with resolve and acceptance.
Graciousness and gratitude prevail.
The struggle to collect more stuff or to climb the ladder has been
replaced with a calm and settled heart.
law of sowing and reaping has brought this person good fruit and it is directly
proportionate to what he has done in his life.
He has sown peace and he is reaping peace. He has sown righteousness and he is resting
in righteousness. He has been faithful
and God is proving himself faithful.
this would be the desired end of a life well lived for all Christians. To come to the place in life where we are
settled in Christ, secure in His love, and comfortable with whose we are and
what He has done with our lives. Satisfied that we have done what God
required. We have run our course, we
have kept the faith – we are satisfied.
Well? Are you?
Or are you still looking for one more thing to make you satisfied?
“He that loveth silver shall not be
satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase: this is also
vanity.” Ecclesiastes 5:10
the wisest and wealthiest king that ever lived knew that once a man’s heart is
set on a thing, be it money, fame, cars, or computer games, he is never
satisfied. The desire for more overtakes
all common sense and thwarts any level of contentment.
of DVD’s, video games, technological toys, and even comic books can be the
evidence of a life overtaken by desire and greed. And, lest we think that only men fall into
this trap, count the shoes, makeup, trinkets, clothes, and even books that many
women hoard and collect.
are even TV shows now addressing this problem of hoarding and collecting more
stuff than a person actually needs. It
is not a problem hidden any more.
Because of the advertising industry we are bombarded with sales pitches
and promises of an easy life, or a happier life, or a better life. All the while we are placing ourselves in
more bondage as we convert rooms to store our precious stuff. We hide our eyes from our credit cards bills
and struggle to pay the basic expenses while we are fixated on getting another
DVD or another book.
calls this vanity. It is empty. It does not satisfy. It constantly demands more. It is never enough.
dictates that we honestly look at our “stuff” and discern whether or not we are
caught in such a trap. One way to know
is to ask yourself, “When I get low and I need encouragement, what do I
do?” If your answer is buy another video
game or go shopping, then you may be on the wrong path – an empty path. One shopping trip will lead to another. One video game will lead to another. It is a downward spiral – one that never will
when is enough enough?
“The fear of the LORD tendeth to
life: and he that hath it shall abide satisfied; he shall not be visited with
evil.” Proverbs 19:23
Christianity – the type that operates in the fear of the Lord – has a direct
tendency to life, to all good, to eternal life. (Matthew Henry) The writer of Proverbs assures us that the
fear of the Lord is the beginning of all wisdom. It prolongs our days. It gives us strong confidence and is a
fountain of life. With it come riches,
honour and life.
Proverbs goes on to add two blessed promises to those who live in the fear of
the Lord – satisfaction and safety. To
abide satisfied is to be complete and full.
It is to know confidently that your Lord is watching over and caring for
your life, and, to have that heart that is not self condemning – confident of
your standing in Christ.
To “not be visited with evil” is not the
absence of trials or afflictions, but the knowledge that the fear of the Lord
keeps sin away from the door. Evil won’t
come knocking at the door because the wise Christian can see it coming.
tells me that to have a satisfied life is not just settling for what I have,
but rather, accepting all God has for my life.
As I live with the fear of the Lord before me I create the conditions
for God’s blessing. I create an
atmosphere of thanksgiving and expected blessing. I know that every good gift that comes my way
has come directly from the hand of God.
I also know that every trial has been filtered through His love and is
for my benefit and His glory. Hard times
do not remove my satisfaction, they enhance it as I see God at work in my life.
you a serious Christian? Are you living
in the fear of the Lord? Is your walk tending to life? Is it bringing satisfaction and security in
“As for me, I will behold thy face
in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when
I awake, with thy likeness.” Psalm 17:15
want to do something totally different here – I am simply going to give you one
lengthy quote from Henry Ward Beecher on this verse.
and assiduously did that noble artist (Michelangelo) labour, toiling by day,
and almost by night, bringing out his prophets and sibyls and pictures wondrous
for their beauty and significance, until the work was done. The day before it was done, if you had gone
into that chapel and looked up, what would you have seen? Posts, planks, ropes, lime, mortar, slop,
dirt. But when all was finished, the
workmen came, and the scaffolding was removed.
And then, although the floor was yet covered with rubbish and litter,
when you looked up, it was as if heaven itself had been opened, and you looked
into the courts of God and angels. Now,
the scaffolding is kept around men long after the fresco is commenced to be
painted; and wondrous disclosure will be made when God shall take down this
scaffolding body, and reveal what you have been doing. By sorrow and by joy; by joys which are but
bright colours, and by sorrow which are but shadows of bright colours; by
prayer; by the influences of the sanctuary, by your pleasures; by your
business; by reverses; by successes and by failures; by what strengthened your
confidence, and by what broke it down; by the things that you rejoiced in, and
by the things that you mourned over – by all that God is working in you. And you are to be perfected, not according to
the things that you plan, but according to the divine pattern. Your portrait and mine are being painted, and
God by wondrous strokes and influences is working us up to his own ideal. Over and above what you are doing for
yourself, God is working to make you like him.
And the wondrous declaration is, that when you stand before God, and see
what has been done for you, you shall be “satisfied.”….And when God’s work is
complete, we shall stand before him, and, with the bright ideal and glorified
conception of heavenly aspiration upon us, looking up to God, and back on
ourselves, we shall say, “I am satisfied” for we shall be like him. Amen.”