Psalm 90:10-12, Transitioning to Death

misty-path-232239

10 “Seventy years are given to us!
    Some even live to eighty.
But even the best years are filled with pain and trouble;
    soon they disappear, and we fly away.
11 Who can comprehend the power of your anger?
    Your wrath is as awesome as the fear you deserve.
12 Teach us to realize the brevity of life,
    so that we may grow in wisdom.”

Psalm 90:10-12, NLT

The most piercing and poignant moments come as we contemplate death– especially our own. I scare myself thinking about the details of my death, the funeral and the casket. I don’t want to die, and I catch myself wishing I could suspend the laws of nature so I wouldn’t have to. Death scares me– perhaps more than any other thing.

“Seventy years are given to us!
    Some even live to eighty.” (v.10).

There are some things that are limited. Our existence is one of them. We naturally age, accruing time as we wait, for that great moment. We might get 80 years. Maybe a few more barring accidents or disease. Funny, but v. 10 labels these years as a gift from the Lord. We can easily miss that salient point.

“We want to reach the kingdom of God, but we don’t want to travel by way of death. And yet there stands Necessity saying: ‘This way, please.’ Do not hesitate, man, to go this way, when this is the way that God came to you.”

 ~Augustine

 “Teach us to realize the brevity of life,
    so that we may grow in wisdom.” (v. 12).

“Teach” seems to be the operative word. We must learn this; it isn’t automatic. (Some will never learn).

The length of years seems unlimited when you are 20, but radically changes when you are 50. All of a sudden you catch yourself reading obituaries, and drawing up a will. Time is short, and it occurs to you suddenly you have an expiration date.

“It is hard to have patience with people who say “There is no death” or “Death doesn’t matter.” There is death. And whatever is matters. And whatever happens has consequences, and it and they are irrevocable and irreversible. You might as well say that birth doesn’t matter.”

  ~C.S. Lewis

“…So that we may grow in wisdom.” Growth is focused to this critical particular wisdom. It carries with it a highly specific purpose that is God’s provision for timid saints who struggle with their fear of dying. “Growing’ is His way to help us change and overcome our fear.

“Death may be the King of terrors… but Jesus is the King of kings!”

~D.L. Moody

ybic, Bryan

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The Real Complexity of Happiness: Psalm 1:1-3 and 16:11

joy-happy-man

1 Blessed (happy, fortunate, prosperous, and enviable) is the man who walks and lives not in the counsel of the ungodly [following their advice, their plans and purposes], nor stands [submissive and inactive] in the path where sinners walk, nor sits down [to relax and rest] where the scornful [and the mockers] gather.

2 But his delight and desire are in the law of the Lord, and on His law (the precepts, the instructions, the teachings of God) he habitually meditates (ponders and studies) by day and by night.

3 And he shall be like a tree firmly planted [and tended] by the streams of water, ready to bring forth its fruit in its season; its leaf also shall not fade or wither; and everything he does shall prosper [and come to maturity].

 

Psalm 1:1-3, Amplified Bible

11 “You will make known to me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.”

Psalm 16:11

flourish-small

In the very first verse of this passage, a more accurate translation than “Blessed” is “Happy.” Happy is the man or woman who does these things. The same is true in the Beatitudes in Matthew 5:1–12. It is more accurate to say “Happy are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” In meditating on the above passages and others, I was reminded what a complex issue happiness is and thought a few observations may bring some clarity:

(1) Because I know and have known Christians with mental illness and neurobiological imbalances, I find it very insensitive to tell these believers, “Hey, simply do these three things and you will be happy.” Instead we need to honor the cross they carry and encourage them to be “wounded healers” with the people God brings into their lives. They are, in some ways, the mourners who will be comforted in the life to come and don’t need “Job’s Comforters” to make matters worse.

(2) We need to be on our guard that we don’t get into a “Come to Jesus and he will make you happy” philosophy. Our relationship with Jesus is not a means to some end; it is an end–in–itself. We’re called to be like Mary who sat at his feet, not the members of the crowd who were there for the loaves and fishes or the next entertaining miracle.

(3) If we do buy into (2), we may get offended at God because happiness is not guaranteed in this life, only in the next life. Along with Christians who have neurobiological imbalances, what about Christians who are being persecuted and even tortured in other countries? Haitian Christians or believers in sub–Saharan Africa who haven’t had a thing to eat for three days? Christians who are in constant pain because of an injury or illness?

happiness-key-small(4) However, for people that do not have these special circumstances, there is, in general, an inheritance of happiness that awaits the believer. There is joy in his presence and eternal pleasures at his right hand (Psalm 16:11). The kingdom of God is not about eating and drinking, but is an inheritance of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17). Study after study (see Gross National Happiness by Arthur Brooks) offers compelling evidence that spiritually engaged (I mean prayer, Bible reading, church attendance) Christians have much higher levels of happiness than their secular counterparts.

(5) What was said in (4), can have profound consequences for every day decisions in the ‘shoe–leather’ of life. For example, we may be tempted to pass on a morsel of gossip to a friend about someone who we find arrogant and annoying. Our primary motivation for not doing this would be that such an action dishonors God, whose name we represent, and simple trafficking in hearsay can damage someone else’s name and even can break one of the Ten Commandments by bearing false witness.

A secondary motivation is that such an action will diminish our own happiness because of the conviction and guilt we will experience in the aftermath. It is not selfish to consider your own happiness in making these daily decisions no more than was it selfish for Thomas Jefferson to write about “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” in the Declaration of Independence. 

(6) One reason that it is not selfish is because being a consistently happy person is a concrete way to serve others–family, friends, acquaintances, co–workers, etc.. People, in general, like to be around upbeat, grateful people with positive attitudes especially in a culture more and more characterized by ingratitude and entitlement. May the joy we experience in God’s presence be contagious and passed on to others!

 

If you like this post by Jonathan, you may also like his new book, Letters from Fawn Creek, that can be purchased at this link:

https://www.tatepublishing.com/bookstore/book.php?w=9781628542035

Letters from Fawn Creek

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ybic, Jonathan

What Our Blessings Look Like: Psalm 128

A song for pilgrims ascending to Jerusalem.

 1 Happy are those who respect the Lord and obey him.
 2 You will enjoy what you work for, 
       and you will be blessed with good things.
 3 Your wife will give you many children, 
       like a vine that produces much fruit. 
    Your children will bring you much good, 
       like olive branches that produce many olives.
 4 This is how the man who respects the Lord 
       will be blessed.
 5 May the Lord bless you from Mount Zion; 
       may you enjoy the good things of Jerusalem all your life. 
 6 May you see your grandchildren. 

    Let there be peace in Israel.

Psalm 128, NCV

This one of “the Psalms of Ascent” for pilgrims to sing as the travel to Jerusalem for the high hold feasts. They would walk, most from more than 70 miles. They would travel in large groups for safety against robbers and brigands. They would sing in unison, or in “rounds” using these psalms.

For us, we are making a spiritual journey, also from a long distance. And we too, have songs to sing. We travel hopefully, in groups as well. It’s interesting to note that what we sing should be of sound theology and an edifying quality. The experience of singing the truth joyfully would teach and strengthen the whole family in the profound idea of covenant.

Commentary

V. 1, is interesting because joy and fear are both present. Your joy is a result of your fear.You experience them both together. All joy, or all fear, apart from each other will be a disruption for us.  Notice this was to help us follow Him, when the road was challenging.

V.2, If we fear, we will find joy. We will enjoy what we do. There will be fruit which is always a great thing. Not to have it is very miserable, as it will always mean that something is wrong. Usually, that something is from v.1. They link together like train boxcars.

V. 3, has much to do with a single word, “contentment.” A whole lot of problems and sadness come our way because we are no longer content or at peace with ourselves. Obviously, when we are not happy, we no longer enjoy our life. Depression and despondency will take us down and ruin us. (I know this, firsthand.)

Wife, and children all flourish and grow. Perhaps that is a strong indicator of your spiritual health.  Family that is thriving. Sitting at our dinner table is a real treat. I enjoy this greatly and I’m learning to love it more and more.

V. 4 declares that this is the blessing God gives. It is intensely familial. It’s odd, but some of us who are married with children are still single in our hearts, and minds. Often we isolate ourselves, and keep away from our families, and this is wrong. If we persist in this, we lose the deep blessing of God on our lives.

V. 5-6 are like a water faucet you can’t turn off. Cold, fresh water gushes from the spout and doesn’t stop refreshing. And actually, this is not far from the truth. The idea of continuance and constancy may seem improbable to us. But, its very hard to turn God off. He gives and gives; and sometimes getting a drink is like trying to drink from a fire hose.

ybic, Bryan

kyrie elesion.

Transparent Pages, Ps. 31:6-8

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 I hate those who worship worthless idols.
I trust in the Lord.
I will be glad and rejoice in your unfailing love,
for you have seen my troubles,
and you care about the anguish of my soul.
You have not handed me over to my enemies
but have set me in a safe place.

Psalm 31:6-8, NLT

God’s promises are like watching a sunrise. It is beautiful, and they somehow work inside of us. Wise and patient eyes realize they are seeing something amazing, and it’s good. These three verses overlay each other. When I was a boy, I was fascinated by books that had transparent plastic pages. These pages would fold over on each other. I remember seeing the human body. You see the bones, but if you flip one of these pages– you could see the circulatory system imposed over the bones, and you can add the nervous system and see that as well. Pretty heady stuff for an eight year old boy. This was old school anatomy.

David wrote these verses, and they belong together.  “I hate those who worship worthless idols. I trust in the Lord.” This verse deals with the subject of discernment. The ability to distinguish between certain things, is not always seen as a positive. I cannot remove the stigma of this word– “hate.”  In the NT we’re anchored to this idea of love. But in Ps. 139:22,

“Yes, I hate them with total hatred,
    for your enemies are  my enemies.”

Hatred is a dangerous emotion. It’s has a handle, just like a suitcase. It can be controlled by the Holy Spirit, or manipulated by Satan. As believers, we should be aware of this possibility. Hatred has a place. Romans 12:9 is a ready verse, “Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good.” We must walk a tightrope here; it will require wisdom and awareness. But I’m also very confident in the Holy Spirit’s ability to assist you in this matter.

The next verse carries with it an intense blessing. It is also a verse that folds into “our picture book.”

“I will be glad and rejoice in your unfailing love,
for you have seen my troubles,
and you care about the anguish of my soul.”

Being truly glad is the waiting room for believers. It is an active state of a humbled heart. David is thrilled. He is quite aware of having God’s focus– he knows that he is incredibly loved. God has taken on the trials and burdens of David. David’s personal anguishes are taken up by the Lord.

“You have not handed me over to my enemies
but have set me in a safe place.”

David truly believes this. He thinks that this is a truly blessed state to be in. The deep realities of “what could have been” are factored into this awareness. God could have easily sent David to his doom. David is aware of what might have been.

These three verses, (vv. 6-8) snuggle together, like those “Russian nestling dolls.” One inside of the other, inside another. Or like our original metaphor–  multiple transparencies coming together to give us a clear view of David’s real truth.

^

ybic, Bryan

Your Face is Shining on Me: Psalm 67

For the director of music. With stringed instruments. A psalm. A song.  “Make Your Face Shine Upon Us”

 1 May God be gracious to us and bless us 
   and make his face to shine upon us, 
                         Selah

2 that your way may be known on earth, 
   your saving power among all nations. 
3 Let the peoples praise you, O God; 
   let all the peoples praise you!

 4 Let the nations be glad and sing for joy, 
   for you judge the peoples with equity 
   and guide the nations upon earth. 
                         Selah

5 Let the peoples praise you, O God; 
   let all the peoples praise you!

 6 The earth has yielded its increase; 
   God, our God, shall bless us. 
7 God shall bless us; 
   let all the ends of the earth fear him!

This dear one, is what we call a “liturgical” song, it’s a classic. The author was most likely a Levite, one of the priest’s assistants, but he had a gift for this. The song had been created for Israel, for the profound purpose of bringing and guiding God’s covenant people into a special place. I suppose we all could use the help in this.

Two “Selahs”. I believe this is our first contact with this term in our study. We don’t grasp the meaning, but a Hebrew psalmist would. Actually almost every school boy would understand this. But it keeps everyone aware that we are reading songs (but you don’t read them, you sing them!)  These are lyrics, people. You got to sing them, even if you annoy your neighbors. And so singing is perhaps what we should being doing, and less reading. 

Our lives don’t do that, we would vastly prefer reading or studying. The musical part of us, is to a large degree, atrophied and crippled.  Back in the day, I was a student in a small Bible college. One class was something fiendishly called “Music Conducting.” Now I’m tone-deaf, and furthermore have the musical rhythmic acumen of a tree sloth. I passed the class due to the incredible kindness of my instructor, who understood my calling to someday be a pastor; and she couldn’t bear to be the one to fail me.

Commentary

V.1, and bring out the howitzers! No one does this better and more intensely than writer of Ps. 67. Key words are “graciousness and blessing.” If we wake up tomorrow without these two graces,  we would definitely know it. The writer uses the phrase, “make his face to shine upon us”. This is taken from the Priest’s Prayer we find in Numbers 6:24-26, I’m using the Message Bible here.

24 God bless you and keep you, 
25 God smile on you and gift you, 
26 God look you full in the face 
           –and make you prosper.

Blessing, and then keeping: Smiling, and then gifting: Caring, and then making you prosper. Additionally the word for “God” is “Jehovah.”  That was the name He chose to use with His own people. The Levitical Blessing was a wonderful place to pray (or sing!) like this.

V. 2-3 places the deep-seated need to take God on a “world tour.”  However v. 1 tells us that this special friendship between God and His people needs to be genuinely figured out first. But the vision is universal– for everyone, everywhere. The joy just oozes out, like a very saturated and soggy sponge.

V. 4 doesn’t seem to have the charismatic personality of its brother in v.1. But neither is it to be trifled with. It places everything God wants to do, with all that He intends. My brother John Piper, has used v. 4 as the title of his book on World Missions, “Let the Nations Be Glad.” Great book, see DesiringGod.org.

V. 5 repeats v.3. It doesn’t compete with it, or supersede it in anyway. Maybe I need two feet to be mobile– a right and a left? Perhaps it made sense lyrically, or even musically?

V. 6 is well done as you would appreciate living in an agrarian society like Israel. It’s often seems like these guys are from Iowa, they know what a manure spreader looks like (and how it smells). Everything in terms of surviving or feasting was from the land. God’s presence, His name, and His deep care was a measurable and tangible blessing. Theology is reduced and perhaps, most appreciated by the poor farmer watching a tornado bypass his property.

V.7, is as sure of itself you could ever get. Boldness, without cockiness. Confidence, without arrogance. Steady, like a rock.

*

ybic, Bryan

God Never Plays “Hide & Seek”: Psalm 102:1-2

Come out, come out. Wherever you are!
Come out, come out. Wherever you are!

Do Not Hide Your Face from Me

A Prayer of one afflicted, when he is faint and pours out his complaint before the Lord.

102 “Hear my prayer, O Lord;
let my cry come to you!
Do not hide your face from me
    in the day of my distress!

Incline your ear to me;
    answer me speedily in the day when I call!”

Psalm 102:1-2, NLT

Affliction is the most common experience we will share. It seems that it is our natural environment, because we can be found there most of the time. Afflictions vary in intensity– from the casual, day-to-day stuff to the catastrophic. It’s good to be reminded of our common situation. It helps, a little.

I chose this psalm because of content and ‘heart.’ A quick read will reveal issues not normally discussed or pondered. It’s sort of like ‘super-gluing” your hand to the horn of an enraged rhino. You’re not sure where he’s going, but you’re going to get there very shortly.

Bible study is like that for me. The text I happen to be thinking about has incredible power. I sense it and I handle it, and I pray. Once I attach myself to the text, anything can happen. Responding to the Word can be exhilarating.

Commentary

V. 1, “Hear my prayer, O Lord;
let my cry come to you!”

Someone once said that just as breathing is to our physical bodies, prayer is the same to our spiritual ones. We must breathe. As a kid I remember having “breathing contests.” We would hold our breath for as long as it took to win. Weird, huh?

There is a definite need, as sure as anything, for each of us to fellowship with “the God of all comfort”.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”

2 Corinthians 1:3-4, NKJV

There is a heart-cry that comes out of the spirit of the believer. The Hebrew word chosen in verse 1 is one of the most intense found. It’s not just “whimpering”, but it goes far beyond that. This “cry” is strenuous and strong. It is the cry of a broken heart.

The psalmist does not intend to waste his sorrows. The pain he is feeling may just rip him into two; but he knows and believes that it has eternal value and everlasting purpose. (He knows this because he has faith).

Our faith was never meant to be spiritual medals and ribbons for decoration. Rather faith is a life boat we are swimming to reach. It is what I call, “the desperation factor”.

V. 2,  “Do not hide your face from me in the day of my distress!

Incline your ear to me; answer me speedily in the day when I call!”

God does not play “hide and seek” with our hearts and souls. He absolutely loves it when His children are desperately looking for Him. He does not play tricks on us. We may have to walk in the dark, and have to listen through the cacophony of competing voices. But He is so close, “His eye is on the sparrow’.

There are often “time factors” that He uses. We will learn to wait. But waiting is first– never “passive.” We don’t need to go into a “spiritual hibernation” because things are quiet. Second– waiting does not mean “abandonment”.

The three Hebrew children stood in the furnace. This is the way they did executions back then. They stood in faith of a God who heard their prayers. They might as well have been standing in their bathrooms, as the fire couldn’t even singe them. The were so ‘insulated’ they didn’t even smell smokey.

But the king, peering through the walls of the furnace, could see a fourth man. The Lord God was quite present, even in this place of death.

*

ybic, Bryan

Life is Hard, But God is Really Good: Psalm 145:8-10

8 “The Lord is merciful and compassionate,
    slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.
The Lord is good to everyone.
    He showers compassion on all his creation.
10 All of your works will thank you, Lord,
    and your faithful followers will praise you.”

Psalm 145:8-10, NLT

Such optimism. And a sweet enthusiasm that just rolls through these words.

The Lord is pretty much the exclusive subject. And David seems to exhaust the human vocabulary trying to offer praise to God. He uses every venue he has to make God look good. And this just isn’t a vacuous publicity stunt. The Lord is truly all these things– and more.

There are those who attempt to disparage God. Lies and foolishness are at the core of their objections. The inane absurdities that they cling to are really nothing more than fig-leaves.

Commentary

V. 8, “The Lord is merciful and compassionate,
    slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.”

Each adjective opens up something quite huge. Even believers will skim these words, without ever letting them sink in. Yet, the Lord God is these things (and more). I’m think that I could preach six months on just this singular verse.

Men and women, are none of these things. We would like to be more noble, and maybe a tad more faithful. But the very best of us is really never enough. We start out poorly and end up badly. Even at our most pristine we are still a sewer.

V. 9, “The Lord is good to everyone.
    He showers compassion on all his creation.”

It’s all-inclusive– “everyone,” and “all.” And “goodness” and “compassion” are true-hearted mules. It is these two which carry the bulk of David’s praise and worship.

Can you imagine someone who is good to everyone they meet? Not just nice or friendly, but someone who engages a passerby and reaches out with a true desire to bless.

And this showering compassion bit. Who do you know who drenches everyone they meet with love? I know of no one who can do this. At our very best we are proud and inconsistent, and our worst we are devilish and harmful.

Is it any wonder that David latches on to the Lord?

V. 10, “All of your works will thank you, Lord,
    and your faithful followers will praise you.”

God’s unchanging character becomes the basis of a grateful people. Somehow I cannot imagine serving a God that is often ill-tempered and nasty; angry and grudge-holding. Or, for that matter– aloof and depressed.

It gets easier to worship when we see the true character and personality of our God of compassion. Purify your vision of Him and you will supercharge your praise.

$

ybic, Bryan

The Chosen Ones: Psalm 108:7-9

God has promised this by his holiness:
“I will divide up Shechem with joy.
I will measure out the valley of Succoth.
Gilead is mine,
and Manasseh, too.
Ephraim, my helmet, will produce my warriors,
and Judah, my scepter, will produce my kings.
But Moab, my washbasin, will become my servant,
and I will wipe my feet on Edom
and shout in triumph over Philistia.”

Psalm 108:7-9, NLT

In the 5th grade I discovered Geography and History. I excelled at these two classes and just had an infinity with them. And I certainly never had to study. (But I could not understand Algebra, Geometry and Trig. I always had failing grades in these courses.)

In these verses God (speaking through David) is separating the nations in the manner of “the Sheep and the Goats.” We find this as a teaching in Matthew  25:31-46. I think that understanding this teaching provides us with a ‘license’ to fully grasp these verses in Psalm 108.

We can make a list of the proper names which will help us sort things out. I think if we do this we will step away from the arcane and obscure.

  1. Shechem

    English: English translation of hebrew version...
    English translation of Hebrew version. Map of the twelve tribes of Israel, before the move of Dan to the North (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
  2. Valley of Succoth
  3. Gilead
  4. Manasseh
  5. Ephraim
  6. Judah
  7. Moab
  8. Edom
  9. Philistia

Some of these are good, and others are under judgement. Each of these designated a people group living in a city, or region. Here in the U. S. we have an awareness of differences, like someone from San Diego, California and someone from Bangor, Maine. You can grow up living in Tennessee or NYC and life is dramatically different.

Commentary

V. 7, “God has promised this by his holiness:
“I will divide up Shechem with joy.
I will measure out the valley of Succoth.”

First note, God is in control. This is a promise. He is setting up boundaries, and having a boundary is a blessing. God seems to be intensely aware of the needs of His people, and He reaches out in covenant concern to “make things right.” The inclusion of the word, “joy” reveals His heart in this matter.

V. 8, “Gilead is mine, and Manasseh, too.
Ephraim, my helmet, will produce my warriors,
and Judah, my scepter, will produce my kings.

These are the positives. They reach back to the establishment of the 12 tribes of Israel. He takes each to be His very own. The mention of Ephraim (the ‘biggest’ tribe) and Judah (the most ‘elite’ tribe) are energized by the favor of the Lord. They will fulfill their destinies, with God’s help; they experience approval and blessing.

In a sense, we too have been chosen to walk in a blessing. We have been elected and been given favor.

 For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you,”

1 Thessalonians 1:4, ESV

V. 9, “But Moab, my washbasin, will become my servant,
and I will wipe my feet on Edom and shout in triumph over Philistia.”

These are the negatives. The language used is meant to insult, and disparage. These are the “bad guys.” The three are an active trinity of evil against Israel from the beginning.

I suppose the important thing is the justice of God is never overlooked. These three have harmed and hurt God’s people at every turn. For me, it’s hard to imagine a people who hate others with such venom. But scripture teaches us that there will always be a hatred of what is good.

*

ybic, Bryan

A Theology of They: Psalm 112:7-10

7″ They do not fear bad news;
    they confidently trust the Lord to care for them.
8 They are confident and fearless
    and can face their foes triumphantly.
9 They share freely and give generously to those in need.
    Their good deeds will be remembered forever.
    They will have influence and honor.
10 The wicked will see this and be infuriated.
    They will grind their teeth in anger;
    they will slink away, their hopes thwarted.”

Psalm 112:7-10, NLT

“They.” The word is used repeatedly which gives us something we can start with.  “They” is a word that is often used to describe a characteristic or attributes of  a group of people. (At least, that is how it’s used here.)

“They”– this group of people being talked about here, are very much blessed.  The have definite qualities which are uniquely understood as evidence of a full and rich life. It is also a curiosity of what the text doesn’t say. Nowhere does it talk of material possessions, health or freedom from pain. No new cars, or fishing boats, or a summer bungalow on Long Island either.

Commentary

V. 7, “ They do not fear bad news;
they confidently trust the Lord to care for them.”

For these people fear isn’t in their vocabulary. They just seem nestle into the place God has for them. Having been forgiven and cleansed of their sin, there is no longer anything to be afraid of anymore. They are now trusting God, and have renounced their rights. They trust God, who does all things well.

V. 8, “They are confident and fearless,
and can face their foes triumphantly.”

The word “confident” is classic. It is two Latin words meaning literally, “with faith.” To be “fearless” is a great thing as well. These are people who have been transformed into “heroes.”

The very fact that this verse mentions “foes” suggests the reality of war. The Bible teaches us that life is always contested. There are no days off to be had. No quarter is given, and we will need to fight our way to heaven. But we are assured of victory.

V. 9, “ They share freely and give generously to those in need.
Their good deeds will be remembered forever.
They will have influence and honor.”

We should be the most generous people on earth. We have been given so much, and that alone should motivate us to be extravagant.  “The only things we can keep are the things we freely give to God.” (CS Lewis).

I have found this to be the truth, that when God blesses me, He doesn’t do it to raise my standard of living. He does it to raise my standard of giving.

V. 10, “ The wicked will see this and be infuriated.
 They will grind their teeth in anger;
they will slink away, their hopes thwarted.”

Evil makes men do strange things. Imagine the internal anger they feel for Christian believers. They are incredulous that our sins are all forgiven, and we have such blessed lives. They are confused by the grace that has been given to us.

ybic, Bryan