23rd PSALMS: Vs. 1
“The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.” (KJV.)
Soldiers sob it in foxholes, preachers recite it at funerals, and, children learn it in Primary Sunday School classes. However, this, the most well know of all verses in the Bible, is also the most all-encompassing promise to be found.
Think about it: “I shall not want!”
But don’t dare think about it for very long — for you will quickly discover that you do have ‘wants’. I daresay that everyone on the earth has wants. A new car, bigger house, better neighborhood, more money, better health, more leisure, travel, love, or a big screen TV.
Even pastors have wants, they want larger congregations, larger contributions, more salvations — the list could go on and on because every single human being on earth has wants.
Could this passage be a provision that was exclusive to David, the writer of this Psalm?
Or—could it perhaps be that it only applies to those who have reached that seemingly unattainable state of bliss in Christ Jesus—that state where all our thoughts are centered on being a servant of Christ Jesus—that place where we have no farther ‘wants’ other than to live only to serve Him?
Or, could it really mean just what it says to us; “All my wants are met by Christ Jesus?”
Remember we are concentrating on ‘wants’ here, not needs. Our ‘needs’ have been promised in Philippians 4:19, where it is written: ‘But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus’. This is further reinforced in 2nd Corinthians 1: 20, that states: ‘For all the promises in God in Him are ‘Yea’ and ‘Amen’.
No other than our Lord himself asked, “Or what man is there of you whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if fish, will he give him a serpent? If then, being evil you know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?” (Matt. 7: 9-11)
I choose to take this verse as a promise and that all my ‘wants’ are met. This word translated ‘want’ in the KJV of Psalm 23:1 is the Hebrew word ‘chacer’. In the ancient Hebrew language ‘chacer’ (khaw-sare’) meant: ‘to lack’, ‘to fail’ ‘to decrease’ or, ‘(have) lack’. Nowhere in Psalms 23:1 does it limit this promise to my ‘needs’; it clearly states ‘my wants’. I don’t know about you, but I have a pretty big ‘want’ list.
And to be honest, my ‘wants’ have not all been met.
But wait a moment! At times some or our ‘wants’ are in direct contrast to the commands of the scripture. Could the answer to this apparent contrast between the scriptural promises—and the reality of ‘real’ life—lie in the first portion of this first verse of Psalms 23? You know. . . that portion about “The Lord is my Shepherd.’
Could it possible be that we are not allowing the Lord to be our shepherd?
Have we allowed our dependency upon our own intelligence and abilities to supersede our dependency on Jesus Christ and His ability to fill both our needs and our wants because of our obsession with our wants?
Think about it!
Additional reading: Psalms 34:9, Psalms 34:10, 2nd Peter 1: 3, Hebrews 11:6
Isaiah 54:6 Part 7
In the past I have written of four methods of interpretation of the scripture.
1. Allegorical. 2. Instructive. 3. Prophetical. 4. The Law of Double Reference. Yet here in verses 6 through 8, there seems to be yet another method of interpret-tation which hopefully we will get around to discussing at greater length in the future. However for the moment let us concentrate on verse 6 only.
“You were like a wife who was deserted. And her heart was broken. You were like a wife who married young. And her husband sent her away. But now I am calling you to come back,” says your God.”
Verses 6 thorough 8 were preached in the context of a broken Jewish marriage with the nation of Israel playing the part of a young, unruly, immature, malcontent bride, while God is the husband, who once sent her away in an effort to induce some sense into her, but is now trying to get her back. To begin we must understand the importance of the Jewish wedding. To them it was Christmas, Thanksgiving, Valentines’ Day, Fourth of July, Birthday, School Graduation, Palm Sunday and Easter and Prom Night all rolled into one.
The only other celebrations in the year were Holy days established by the Law, and by the time a young man or lady was 14 to 20 years old those days were undoubtedly ‘Old Hat’–Strictly 1950’ish–Like for the 142 time you had to go see your Aunt Mitilda, who smelled of rum, breath mints, old sweat and face powder, but always wanted to pinch your cheek and hold you in a sweaty bear-hug for most of your visit.
Even though a real human-to-human marriage contract, along with monetary compensation, might have been made between two fathers’ years in advance, the betrothal only started one year before the actual wedding. All of her life, since early childhood, the bride had been saving coins of various denominations as well as other items of monetary value. Upon reaching a certain age, probably as young as eight, she was allowed to wear these as a head-band at her front hairline to advertise her availability as a bride. This may seem extremely young, but keep in mind that girls were often married as young as twelve years old.
Yet even at that, the father was obliged to marry the oldest daughter first and proceed down the line of birth ages. Witness: Laban’s deceit in the marriage of Leah and Rachael to Jacob in Genesis chapter 29.
Once betrothed the groom begin construction of a room attached to his parent’s house that was to be the private quarters of he and his young bride. No date was set for the wedding, yet the bride’s maids had to be ever ready for the moment when the groom could come to ‘kidnap’ his bride. (Matt. 25:1-13)
On the night of the kidnapping the groom quietly gathered his closet friends and quietly sneaked up on the house of his ‘Beloved’. Then with a great clamor of shouting and beating of anything that would make noise, the groom would grab his bride and parade her through town with his co-harts banging on doors and making pandemonium in order to awaken the town and announce the marriage.
After rambling through the community he and his bride retreated to the private sanctuary of their bedroom while the assembly of friends might continue the celebra-tion throughout the night, and often for as long as a week or more afterwards.
Early the next morning the groom would rush out to show the blood stain on the sleeping pallet that proved not only was the marriage consummated, but that the bride was a virgin. Then the celebration started all over again. Of course without the presence of the bride and groom, who had by now, long returned to their sanctuary where they might stay for as long as a month.
Following the marriage the groom was released from serving any military service for one year. Additionally for the first year he was not to ‘resume any task that would interfere with his presence at home to cheer up his wife’.
Some materials have it that the women of Israel were more aggressive at promoting sexual activity than were the men. If true, this shows that the act of providing the male heir was the most important thing at that time. Several places in the Bible indicate that the act is a process to be enjoyed by both men and women equally. (After all, neither had TV or Smart Phones with which to occupy themselves.)
When all of these facts, or fantasies, are shaken together and tossed out, they point out the fact that a great amount of love and tenderness was held by each partner in the business of marriage.
In Isaiah’s prophecies it is doubtful that either the upper or the lower half of Israel knew what Isaiah was talking about when he preached verse 6:
“And her husband sent her away, But now I am calling you to come back, says your God.”
Here Isaiah is speaking of the fact that the majority of Israel had turned from God and were worshipping Baal and Ashtoreth.
This is allegorical, as well as prophetical inasmuch as: ‘That God has not yet, but is soon, going to send His chosen people away into captivity into Syria, Babylon and Persia for an extended period of time. After they begged, pleaded and prayed to be returned He would bring them back to their homeland, but only after many years of captivity’.
It would be 26 years following Isaiah’s first preaching before the first of the diaspora would begin. The ‘carrying away’ would begin in the northern portion of Israel which was Jeremiah’s prophetical portion. It would take another 126 years following that before the end of the diaspora with the dispersion of the southern tribes of Judah and Benjamin.
Throughout this time God was beckoning and calling his people as if they were young, innocent, brides. Poorly trained, lost to their proper duties, and unable to make the proper decisions.
God had pity on his people and even before the fact, was warning them of the coming calamity and calling them back to himself.
God is a God of mercy and love. A God quick to forgive and forget.
We all have our weaknesses and failures. Sometimes we trip over our shortcomings. Are there currently things drawing us away from your fellowship with God? Are you more involved in community activities, sports, interaction with your friends, social media, more worried about your social status than your ‘God status’?
If you feel as if you are currently engaged in the long walk over the burning sands on your way to India, consider the following words:
‘I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name’s sake’. 1st John 2:12 KJV
‘If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness’. 1st John 1:8-9 KJV
From that you see that it only takes a few words and a change in our thought process to enter into a new world.
TRY IT—YOU WILL LIKE IT!
THE BEGINNING OF THE END OF JEWISH POWER
“For thy Maker is thine husband; the LORD of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called.” Isaiah 54:5 KJV
The central thought of this verse is: ‘For your maker is your husband;” Magnifying the central issue that both the Jews as well as the Christians are ‘The Bride of Christ.’
We were created to be ‘The Bride of Christ’. In fact God said that our names are engraved on the palms of His hands. Think about that!
About 760 years before the birth of the Christ, God called Isaiah, son of Amoz, of the priestly tribe of the Levis, who was brother to King Amaziah of Judah, to warn the sub-nations of Judah and Benjamin of the coming destruction of their kingdoms if they did not turn away from idol worship and return to the Holy One of Israel.
Isaiah was ignored and 26 years later, in 734 BC, the Assyrians under king Tilgath-Pileser III captured portions of the northern division of Israel, removing the occupants and scattering them throughout Assyria and Babylon.
However it was 136 years before the two southern tribes of Judah and Benjamin were dispersed. This took place under King Cyrus II of Persia. This involved a period of 24 years and three separate disper-sals. The number removed was reported to be as many as 40,000 men. Women and children were not counted.
In 723 BC the Assyrians deported more Israelites from the northern kingdom replacing them with colonists from Assyria and Babylonia. The ten northern nations of Israel were in essence ‘blotted out’.
Among those displaced from the northern dysphoria was Daniel who survived the ‘fiery furnace’, read the finger writing on the wall, survived the lion’s den and interpreted the dreams of Nebuchadnezzar.
In 597 BC, 126 years later, the Persians made a pact with the Medes and joined forces to wage war against Babylon and Assyria. Suddenly King Nebuchadnezzar was no longer King of Babylon, as Babylon was made became a ‘vassal’ state to Persia.
After the war, King Cyrus I of Persia seized the Medes (Afghanistan), and in the process ruled all of the land from Babylon, to India, including Bulgaria, Assyria, Media, Pakistan, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Armantan, the western part of India, as well as the eastern and western coasts of the Gulf of Arabia.
His son, King Cyrus II expanded the territory to include northern as well as southern Arabia and Israel. This included both Judah and Benjamin. They deported a goodly portion of the inhabitants to Babylonia (present day Iraq), Persia (Iran) and Media (Afghanistan and western India).
His nephew Cambyses sacked Egypt and Libya because Egypt replaced a betrothed Egyptian bride to Persian nobleman with a ‘fake’ bride.
Next, King Cyrus’s grandson Darius I captured all of the Baltic States as well as Turkey and Hungary.
Darius II’s grandson Xerxes defeated the Greeks and was knocking at the back door of Rome before they were slowed down by other events. At that time the Persians controlled 44% of the World Population!
In the first year of his reign, King Darius II issued a proclamation stating: ‘The Lord God of Heaven who had given me all the kingdoms of the earth, he has charged me to build him a house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah’.
This required that a great deal of Jewish men return to their homeland. The first of those to return were 42,360 men. The journey, from Persia to Jerusalem, took four and one half months . He also had the inhabitants of his own country take ‘free will’ offerings to support the returning Jews on their travels and to provide for their lives until they could grow their own foodstuffs.
One group set to re-building the city of Jerusalem’s walls, while the Levites and the Priests rebuilt the Temple.
It was not until three years later, on a night when King Darius II could not sleep, that he requested the ancient scrolls of the history of his people be brought to his bed chambers in order to occupy himself.
In reading these scrolls he discovered the location where the ancient gold and silver utensils of the Jewish Temple had been hidden by Nebuchadnezzar.
King Darius II had the items retrieved, repaired, cleansed and polished before returning them to the Priests in Jerusalem who at that time were near completion of the rebuilding of their new temple.
This is the true story of ‘The Redeemer’.
He purchased our souls with his blood.
“For thy Maker is thine husband; the LORD of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called.” Isaiah 54:5 KJV
TRIALS, TRIBULATIONS AND . . . . . . PATIENCE?Part 5:
Isaiah Chapter 54
In Parts one and two we saw that the true meanings of ‘Trials’ is tests. ‘Tribulations’, on the other hand, are similar to the balloons that have been twisted out of shape so as to resemble an object or an animal. In other words the balloon is ‘bent all out of shape’. We all can certainly all recognize THAT feeling.
Also in Part Two, we learned that it was God who created the ‘Smith that blows upon the coals of our very own forge to make the fire even hotter.
Later in Part Three we saw how the ‘Lack of Patience’ by Abram and Sarai gave us Ishmael—the blight of the entire world.
Also in that portion we touched on how quickly or nation has turned from its high ‘Moral Values’ to ‘Love of Self’. That is: People killing their own children, school killings, theater killings, random killings, abortion, the list seems endless. In short, we now stand at the place we were before God annihilated the entire world with Noah’s flood.
In Part Four, we saw the four different ways to interpret scripture.
1. Allegorically. 2. The Law of Double Reference. 3. Prophetical. 4. Instructive.
As we experience the present age drawing to an end, we find the following three verses written expressly to the remnant of the Jewish Nation that will escape death at the hand of the Abomination of Desolation. (Matt. 24:15-15, Rev. 17:5-6)
Today we will concentrate on verse three of the 54th Chapter of Isaiah.
Isaiah 54:4 (KJV)
Fear not; f. for thou shalt not be ashamed: neither be thou confounded; for thou shalt not be put to shame: for thou shalt forget the shame of thy youth, g, and shalt not remember the reproach of thy widowhood any more.
We find this verse to be entirely prophetic. First we hear God telling the survivors of the Great Tribulation to e.‘Have no fear’.
Where could this ‘fear’ come from? There are two possible answers that could apply to this question.
Christians who in their zeal blame the Jews for the torture and death of the Savor in some far-fetched reach of vengeance—or ignorance. They seem to have forgotten that if not for the torture, there would be no healing. If not for shed blood and spiritual death there could be no salvation.
Another, is the fact that even after the Second Advent, there will still be nations of ‘animalistic murderers’ intent on destroying those both of the Jewish race as well as the Christian faith.
Witness: “Thus know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves . . . without natural affection . . . despisers of those that are good.” (2nd Tim. 3:2)
‘For thou shall not be ashamed’. ‘Prophetical as well as allegorical. ‘A promise that those of Jewish blood who accept Jesus as Messiah shall never be embarrassed or put to shame at the End Time Judgment. They will sit at the table with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob on that Great Day of Judgment’. (Matt. 8:11-12)
One can only imagine the ‘shame’ and ‘guilt’ the People of Promise will feel when the realization dawns that it was THEY (Their predecessors. in reality.) who killed the Savior of the world.
Don’t let anyone fool you with the deceitful words: “The Romans killed Jesus.” Yes, they carried out the orders issued by the Sanhedrin (70 Jewish Leaders.). It is to be noted that under Roman rule an Israelite could not kill. Only the Romans had the power of execution. And wasn’t it the fanatical Jewish crowd that shouted out, “Barabbas! Give us Barabbas!”
It was the fanatical Jews that incited the riot that killed Jesus because they were afraid he would end their corruptive use of ‘Religion’.
‘And shall not remember the reproach of thy widowhood’. In that age a woman could be divorced for the simplest of reasons. Even too much salt in the food, or social matters such as being accused of being a ‘gadabout’; (a gossip monger.).