Thursday, May 10, 2007

Psalm 110: 3 We obey because God is right.

Psalm 110:3 “Your people shall be volunteers (willing) in the day of your power.”
There are many lessons that can be learned from this chapter dealing with the kingdom of God and Christ’s rule, but I want to look at the word translated “willing” or “volunteers.” When we really see the Lord and really know in our hearts who He is, we will follow Him because we know He is right. How often in life have we disagreed with someone or ignored their advice, and then later found out how wrong we were. How many times have you had to say to someone, “You were right.” This is the essence of some of the praises in scripture which address God's goodness and uprightness. He is a God of truth and without injustice; True and upright is He.” (Deut 32: 3-4).
Not everyone obeys God with the purest of motives. Some people serve Him as long as He is doing something for them, as long as they can “get something out of it.” Some serve when its convenient or costs nothing. Psalm 78 says that Israel went through the motions of obedience but without a change of heart. They gave outward conformity without inner transformation. Others obey because they fear the threat of discipline or punishment.
David, on the other hand, repented and asked God to change his heart (Ps 51:10). He asked the Lord to uphold him with a “willing” spirit [Ps.51:12]. In the original Hebrew it is clear that “willing” refers to David’s own spirit rather than to God’s. David is asking God to bring him to a higher level of obedience. He sees and understands God's love. He has a vision of who God is. David’s prayer resonates with the character of the people noted in Psalm 110: 3. “Your people shall be willing in the day of your power.”

Ps 18: 30; Deut 32: 1-6; Romans 11: 33-36.
One of the greatest revelations we can have is to really see with our mind and spiritual eyes that God is right and His ways are perfect. What He tells us in terms of how to live and behave is actually the best way to live. This truth will help us in the face of every temptation. God is right. He is never wrong. His ways, His word, and His judgment are all right and true.
If we were to really see and know this truth, we would offer ourselves to obey and serve Him without reservation. We would say no to the lies that come to us in the temptations of the flesh, the devil, and the world system. We would say yes to God. If we only knew who it is who speaks to us, if we really knew Him and the gift He brings (John 4:10), we would not wait for Him to ask, we would be volunteering freely to serve Him and His will.

God allows evil because He does not force men to submit against their will. The people who serve God are not robots programmed to serve. They follow Him because He is a wonderful and awesome God. He is right and His way is perfect.

Rebellious men in this age often yield and surrender in the face of great power simply because they have been overwhelmed or overcome by a force they are unable to resist. This is an unwilling surrender. But when men stand before Almighty God our Creator in that great day of the Lord they will not only simply yield but will face the clear, absolute, and incontrovertible truth that God is right and has always been right. In that day everyone will realize the utter and total foolishness of his own ways and will be compelled by the sheer force of reality and truth to admit that God is righteous and that rebellious man was in error. There will be no lies or deception in the presence of God. There will be no pretending, no games, no manipulation, no false accusations, no perversions of truth, no legal technicalities to obstruct justice. God will judge righteously according to absolute truth. Man will be absolutely naked except for those who in repentance and obedience have been justified by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ and His blood which was shed for us on the cross. These will be clothed with His righteousness.


josenmiami said...

good stuff Billy...I"ll read it more reflectively and respond when I get back from the Keys with Deb. I posted some thoughts on my blog on postmodernism.

josenmiami said...

hi Billy (and Steve), I agree with Steve that we are emphasizing different aspects of the same truth.

I decided to spare the larger group any more emails today... we are dangerously nearing the edge of information overload.

We could discuss some of these things in the blog. By-the-way, it is super SUPER easy to set up a simple blog in blogspot. I helped Billy do it and me or Brian could walk you through it... it is very simple to just post stuff over there as you write you a way to back up everything and then you can refer people to a link.

I just want to respond to your comment that both Jesus and John commanded people to repent. Yes, but (there I go Brian, 'yes-buting" ... must be like head-butt)

yes, but they didn't ALWAYS command people to repent, as I pointed out to Billy. There was no command to Legion to repent, no command to Zaccheus to repent...just an invitation to share dinner. There was no command to the sinful woman to repent, just appreciation for her love and a blanket statement that her sins had been forgiven. To go to John, there was really no authoritive command to repent to the samaritan woman...just a slightly sad and at the same time almost playful probing comment about how honest she was...she told the truth! she had no husband she had five and a boyfriend. the comment probed at the area of her heart that needed repentance, without coercing repentance....

no...undoubtedly God commands men to repent, but in the on-going work of the Spirit, you cannot make the argument that it is normative that Jesus or the Holy Spirit commands repentance in all cases without a wooing and a gentle knocking at the door.... an invitation to the table. The real "Commanding" starts at the judgement seat of Christ.

I am probably sensitive about this because I have seen it abused so much by uncaring, non-relational Christian evangelists....who offend far more peope than they win to Christ...and those they do win, often just pray in order to get them off their backs.

You have to be careful how you put this because there are far too many Christians far too willling to trot out there start "commanding" sinners, kinda like Sunni Muslims....

by the way, Billy's blog is

He has already published some of these thoughts over there....why don't we take this conversation over there and give his blog a boost? We could also invite CovThinklings to comment...

obviously, the concept of translating the kingdom of God is a hot one.... I have never seen an email with legs like this....

OUT OF THE BOX said...

From Billy:
I am pasting below some earlier comments I made in response to Joseph's article about sharing the Kingdom.
Just a thought on the concept of adapting the message to the culture. Most of the sermons in the book of Acts were preached to people of Jewish background. In the sermons of Paul, Peter, and Stephen we typically hear them quoting the Old Testament rather profusely, usually including a narrative of some aspect of Israel’s history. However, we see Paul change this strategy when he went to Athens (Acts 17). Athens was an intellectual center and a center of philosophy. There was no Jewish influence dominating the culture or thought processes of the people. It is interesting to see Paul’s strategy in speaking to this culture at Mars Hill.
Speaking to these philosophers he did not chose a Biblical text for his sermon nor did he refer to Israel’s historical experience. He did not start his message referring to God the savior, but rather spoke of the sovereign God who created all things. He spoke of God’s Imminence (the fact He is present and fills all things) and His Transcendence (He is above, outside of, and greater than all created things rather than limited to creation as pantheism would imply). His message is that God as creator (we could say he was preaching from Genesis 1:1 without actually quoting it) is sovereign over all things and controls all things including the preappointed times and boundaries of nations. He also makes reference to the fact that we are made in God’s image and that God is not like any of the images displayed in the idols all around Athens. Paul then drives home the message that God will judge the world by one Man whom He raised from the dead. At this point the crowd reacted and for the most part rejected the message, except for a few who believed and joined him to learn more.
Paul left Athens and went from there to Corinth. It is very interesting to note his attitude upon arriving in Corinth. “And when I came to you I did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. …and my speech…was not in persuasive words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. “ I wonder how much Paul’s experience at Athens influenced his approach at Corinth. His words in 1 Corinthians 2 almost sound like a reaction to his time at Athens. This brings up the question: Was Paul’s approach at Athens inspired by the Spirit of God or was he depending too much on his intellect. I believe he was inspired by the Holy Spirit. I think he gave the perfect sermon for the crowd in front of him. The anointed word will reach those who will receive it. The Bible shows three groups of people who simply despised the word when it came (and who would despise it not matter what form it took): the people at Nazareth who were too familiar with Jesus, the people of God who knew the truth but chose to turn their backs on him and go into idolatry, the intellectuals in Athens who were seeking wisdom and considered the gospel foolishness.
Paul’s message to the Corinthians does make another point. Generally in our experience we have to share the Gospel and trust the Holy Spirit to speak silently into the hearts and minds of those with whom we speak. We also need to wisely adapt and speak the language that people can understand. But I also cry out for the Lord to visit us in the power of which Paul speaks in 1 Corinthians 2. We can safely say that when we heal the sick and raise the dead, people will tend to listen a little more closely to what we say, even when they don’t quite understand our language. The thing that made the difference in the New Testament proclamation of the kingdom of God was the fact that they were not just presenting the kingdom, but the King Himself. They presented Jesus alive and present. I know that we have to work with the grace that is made available to us today. That involves sharing as wisely as possible and trying to relate as intelligently as possible to our culture. But I do cry out for the Lord to show up and demonstrate the kingdom and His presence, to pierce the hearts of the listeners as He did to those who heard Peter, Phillip, and Stephen in the book of Acts.
Billy Long

Jo B said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
josenmiami said...

Billy: we need some new material!

Have you been over to my humor blog yet?