A Child’s View of God’s Supremacy

December 16, 2016 at 4:52 pm | Posted in II Corinthians, Uncategorized | 10 Comments
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As Christian parents we should want the children that God has entrusted into our care to be utterly convinced of the absolute supremacy of God. And, although it may be hard for us to accept, the lesson that God is absolutely supreme may have to be learned in times of trial, struggle, darkness, and even affliction. Remember, we are raising these kids for Him, and, having entrusted them to us, He wants US to trust Him with them.

It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.

Psalm 119:71

We must bring the Scriptures to bear in our parenting, and we must confront our children with the Scriptures in times of suffering and despair. Learning God’s “statutes” (principles and precepts) will assist us in teaching them to find comfort in Him. They are just as important as a rod of correction in discipline, and more so in times of affliction that already involve pain, because we do not wish to inflict additional pain where pain has already been inflicted from above or allowed by God through circumstances.

And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

II Corinthians 12:7-10

Let us not, as parents, exhaust all our prayers on deliverance. Let us reserve some for the recognition – and acceptance – of humbling thorns in the flesh. And let us teach our children to pray through them, and recognize God’s strength supplanting their own perceived strength.

Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.

I Corinthians 10:31

We should think of this well-known verse as a reminder to try to utterly convince our children of the absolute supremacy of God, but, in its context, it is not so much a verse of victory as it is a statement of defiance by the Apostle in the midst of persecution. People were speaking evil of him and his teaching, and, rather than worrying about safeguarding or defending his reputation, he was concerned with God’s glory. For our children, the “whatsoever ye do” would include getting picked on and made fun of, as much as it would include a scraped knee, a lost purse, or the disappointment of not being invited to a best friend’s birthday party. There is no conviction of God’s absolute supremacy when we see Him only as supremely in charge of granting our favorite blessings.

Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee.

Psalm 73:25

This is a general and true statement. No created being will make a good “God.” But it is also a desperate realization. Our children must learn to think Biblically. They must not see God as all they need (although He is), or even as all they want (although that would be great). They must see Him as all that they have. In a world of vanity, deceit, hypocrisy, anarchy, uncertainty, and unpredictability, God is the God of Heaven (eternity, the sweet by and by), but He is also God of all the Earth (the nasty now and now). He’s the God of our church, our home, our car, our refrigerator, our little league team, our vacation, and our toy box. I’m no longer talking about just looking for illustrations or spiritual lessons; I’m talking about seeing God as supreme – both better than anything AND above anything AND truly our All-in-All.

One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple.

Psalm 27:4

God is so holy that no man can see Him and live. However, if we are doing our job as parents, our children should have a burning desire to see God – to “behold His beauty” – to “enquire” of Him and ask Him otherwise unanswerable questions. In teaching and preaching the Gospel to your children, tell them that God DOES want them to see Him – and look what great lengths He has gone to, to make it happen!

The Importance of Going to Church

September 28, 2012 at 11:57 am | Posted in Selected Psalms | 12 Comments
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In Psalm 73 Asaph was dissatisfied because it looked to him like the wicked were prospering and the righteous were being treated unfairly by God. We know that this line of thinking is wrong for a number of reasons. First, everyone is wicked by God’s standard of holiness, so, in a sense, any time someone prospers, it is a case of the wicked prospering. Second, there are none righteous apart from God. Third, it is impossible for God to be unfair. He is perfectly just in all His ways and in Who He is. These types of remedial truths are more evidently revealed in the New Testament than in the Old Testament (although they are clearly there in both), so, when Asaph began to correct his thinking, it is actually kind of surprising to us New Testament Christians to see what got him back on the right track.

If I say, I will speak thus; behold, I should offend against the generation of thy children. When I thought to know this, it was too painful for me;

Psalm 73:15-16

Remember, Asaph was a worship leader in the sanctuary. When he caught himself questioning God’s goodness, he got worried about how quitting his ministry position would affect other worshipers! That’s probably not the best reason to resolve to continue serving the Lord, but it’s certainly not a bad reason. And I really like what Asaph did next: he went to church.

Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end. Surely thou didst set them in slippery places: thou castedst them down into destruction.

Psalm 73:17-18

Church is essential for Christians.

Thus my heart was grieved, and I was pricked in my reins. So foolish was I, and ignorant: I was as a beast before thee.

Psalm 73:21-22

What happens at church to remove our doubt and re-establish our faith in God?

1. We get into fellowship with other Christians.
2. We hear the Word of God.
3. We sing songs of praise.
4. We remember we are part of a worshiping body.

Theodicy can be wrestled with and more easily defeated when we work as a team.

As a dream when one awaketh; so, O Lord, when thou awakest, thou shalt despise their image.

Psalm 73:20

Sometimes we reverently wrestle with God and the more-difficult doctrines of the Bible. But ultimately God is not a problem to be solved. He is a Person to be loved.

Nevertheless I am continually with thee: thou hast holden me by my right hand. Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee.

Psalm 73:23-25

I said earlier that it is essential for Christians to go to church. But is it possible to be a Christian and not go to church? Of course, it’s possible. It’s also possible to be married and to go home each day to see your spouse, or to never go home to see your spouse. But which makes for a better relationship?

When I get back to loving God with the reinforcement of my brothers and sisters in Christ, then the “prosperity” of the wicked gets revealed for what it really is: a fantasy. It becomes revealed and reviled.

For, lo, they that are far from thee shall perish: thou hast destroyed all them that go a whoring from thee.

Psalm 73:27

Asaph went to church without even being sure why he was going. But he left telling everybody that they need to go too.

But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, that I may declare all thy works.

Psalm 73:28

Do the Righteous Really Suffer?

September 19, 2012 at 9:26 am | Posted in Selected Psalms | 7 Comments
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[A Psalm of Asaph.] Truly God is good to Israel, even to such as are of a clean heart.

Psalm 73:1

Asaph was a Levite and a worship leader in the sanctuary. He began to question God when he saw the unrighteous prospering and the righteous suffering.

But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped. For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

Psalm 73:2-3

Have you ever asked that same question: Why do the righteous suffer while the wicked prosper? It is actually the wrong question. Considering that no one has ever been righteous apart from Jesus, a better question would be: Why does anyone at all prosper?

Other Bible passages which deal with this same issue are Psalm 37, Psalm 49, Job, and Habakkuk. It is sometimes called “theodicy.” From our finite point of view, as fallen sinners living in a fallen world, we have a tendency to question why God (Who is omnibenevolent, omnipotent, and omniscient) would allow suffering or evil.

Asaph, despite his faulty questioning, wasn’t a complete fool. At least he never denied the existence of God. In verse 3 he stated that he was envious of the foolish, but he did recognize that they were foolish.

And they say, How doth God know? and is there knowledge in the most High? Behold, these are the ungodly, who prosper in the world; they increase in riches.

Psalm 73:11-12

It’s bad enough to question God’s goodness, but at least that’s somewhat honest. It falls more under the category of doubt than unbelief. But to question God’s existence? That’s idiotic and dishonest. I’m drawing a distinction between disbelief and unbelief. When it comes to unbelief in the existence of God, what we’re really talking about is just willful ignorance.

For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:

II Peter 3:5

“Willingly ignorant,” as one preacher says, means “dumb on purpose.” It’s covering your eyes and ears and sticking your head in the sand, and saying I’m a blind deaf ostrich. Creation proves a Creator.

It is a sin to envy the wicked, but Asaph forgot that serving God is not a commercial transaction.

They are not in trouble as other men; neither are they plagued like other men.

Psalm 73:5

You know people like this. They are not serving God, and they are even in open rebellion against God, yet they seem to be getting away with it, and from all visible indications, it appears that they’re doing just fine.

Their eyes stand out with fatness: they have more than heart could wish.

Psalm 73:7

They have so many material possessions and treasures, and they appear to be so stuffed with blessings, that their eyes are bulging out.

They set their mouth against the heavens, and their tongue walketh through the earth.

Psalm 73:9

They claim that they don’t need God in Heaven because they’ve got everything they need here on earth. As my old Sunday School teacher used to say, their attitude is, “My name’s Jimmy, I’ll take all you gimme,” and people seem to do it! If somebody tells them, “You’re in trouble, you’re breaking God’s rules – you are going to need God one day,” their response is…

… How doth God know? and is there knowledge in the most High?

Psalm 73:11

Asaph’s frustration over his alleged lack of rewards for serving God was obvious:

Behold, these are the ungodly, who prosper in the world; they increase in riches. Verily I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocency.

Psalm 73:12-13

He says, “I’m trying to do right – and it’s for nothing!” We have to be careful not to be like Asaph. Satan often tests true Christians. His temptation is: “Sure, you’re serving God, but that’s because you’re trying to buy His blessing. Let God take away your blessing and we’ll see what you do.” Do you see the tricky word in that challenge? It’s the word “your.” Satan is subtle and he likes to insinuate that blessings from God are something we have a “right” to, or something we “deserve.” Our response should be, “It’s okay if God takes away His blessings. I never deserved them in the first place!”

All our needs are supplied in Christ, regardless of how things look from the temporal, earthly perspective.

But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:19

And the devil can’t take anything away from you because you don’t “own” anything anyway – it’s all God’s! Next time, we’ll take a look at how Asaph got back on the right track.

He’s More than “All I Need.” He’s “All I Have.”

June 17, 2010 at 11:07 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 7 Comments
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It can be heartbreaking to see people bowing down to the cult of celebrity in our times. Men and women, boys and girls, all of whom God so gloriously created for His Own glory, seem to persistently ignore Him, and to make idols out of silly individuals famous for even sillier accomplishments. Most people know more about Paris Hilton than they do about Priscilla and Aquila. We know more about Britney Spears than about the spear Saul threw at David. We know more about Heath Ledger than about the heath in the desert. How many of our children and young adults obsess over clothing, beauty products, hair styles, and weight loss, but could not begin to point to a Scripture that describes the true Biblical definition of “beauty?” We know more about what happened on the red carpet than about what happened on the Cross of Christ.

Even spiritually-minded people seem to feel as if God alone is not enough. All types of Heavenly beings are worshipped in place of Christ. The saints are adored and offered prayers. Christ’s mother is deified. Angels are worshipped as if they were creators instead of creatures.

This type of vanity must stop. What joy there is in realizing that God alone is worthy of worship and praise! What peace and power there is in knowing that there is only one Mediator between God and man – the man Christ Jesus! In God’s creation, man can find anything he wants. But only in God Himself can man find what he truly needs.

Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee.

Psalm 73:25


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