Monday, September 29, 2014

Week Thirty-Eight - Stand

“If thou, LORD, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?
 Psalm 130:3
If 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.” 
The 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 scene.
We 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.
Are 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:
Charles 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.
The 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 workers.
The 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 the ladder.”
Good 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.
What 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
Ezekiel 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.”
In 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?”
It 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.
How 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
I 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.
Then, 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.
To 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 stand.
How 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 standing?

“…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
The 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.
The 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.
It 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.
Then, 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.
So, 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.
So 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?

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