“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?” Psalm 22:1. At a time the world is focused on love, we’re examining a psalm about the greatest love ever known. Wait! I’ve heard this before. Didn’t Jesus utter these words while wicked men were killing Him on the cross? Yes, indeed. But forsaking someone is the opposite of loving them, isn’t it? Yes, and God promises that He will never leave us or forsake us. So … He loves us that much! Does that mean He didn’t love His Son while He hung on the cross? No, look what the Father says of Jesus at His baptism (Matthew 3:17) and then at His transfiguration (17:5): “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” Then, how is this a psalm about the greatest love ever known? John 3:16 explains, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” When Jesus uttered this psalm, written 1000 years before fulfilling David’s words, He was describing the process in which His Father would show the greatest love: He gave. Jesus allowed Himself to be forsaken—so you never would be!
“The LORD said to Gideon, ‘The people with you are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hand, lest Israel boast over me, saying, ‘My own hand has saved me’’” Judges 7:2. Gideon has had a chance to test God a bit and found that He saved him in his hometown. Now, people are flocking to him to take on the Midianites who had been oppressing them for many years, and Gideon must have felt a lot of security in those numbers—32,000 fighting men to be exact! But God said it was too many. Concerned that His people who were just beginning to trust in Him might credit themselves instead, He has Gideon send the fearful home. How his heart must have sank when over two-thirds left. Perhaps resigning himself to fewer numbers in his growing faith in God to fight for him, Gideon must have been challenged when God said there were still too many. So, it would be with only 300 men and with trumpets, jars, and torches that God would bring about a great victory for His people and show them who He was and what they could do for them. We have the completed Word of God to tell us of Jesus’ work of the gospel. Isn’t it time we showed the Lord’s power to others?
“He asked life of you; you gave it to him, length of days forever and ever” Psalm 21:4. Attributed to David, he refers to himself in the third person as “the king” as he celebrates a major victory that God has given him. The king rejoices in the LORD’s strength and exults in His salvation. David asked for life on the field of battle, and God granted it. We too are on the field of battle each and every day. Our enemy is strong, but we trust in God to deliver us rather than the chariots and horses of the previous psalm. So, Christians can rejoice in the LORD’s strength and exult in His salvation as well. We ask for life to be granted to us, and He gives it to us through His Son on the cross. The battle truly does belong to the LORD as we often sing. We need only to be still and know that He is God. This doesn’t mean sitting back but faithful and obedient service to Him. Paul concludes a chapter all about how Jesus’ resurrection helps us by explaining the victory over death that we now have through God’s Son, “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Help in our present struggles and eternal life with Him for eternity! Are you asking God for the victory in Jesus?
“Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life’” John 8:12. Ego Eimi—I AM—the very name that the Almighty God, YHWH, gave to Moses at the burning bush so he could tell the Israelites who had sent him (Exodus 3:14). It is how Jesus revealed Himself to the sinful woman at the Samaritan well. It’s the name He used for Himself with “the Jews who had believed him” in this same chapter (v58). It’s the two words uttered about Himself in the garden that made the mob who had come to arrest Him fall to the ground (John 18:6). It’s one of Jesus’ seven declarations about Himself made in John, the others being “Ego Eimi … the bread of life (6:35), the door (10:7), the good shepherd (v11-14), the resurrection and the life, the way, the truth (11:25), and the life (14:6), and the true vine (15:1). So … Jesus is not saying He has the light like an Old Testament prophet or like we who are simply jars of clay who hold the treasure of the gospel (2 Corinthians 4:7); no, He is declaring that He IS the light for the world. Understanding this, each must ask: are we following the light or walking in the dark?
“But Joash said to all who stood against him, ‘Will you contend for Baal? Or will you save him? Whoever contends for him shall be put to death by morning. If he is a god, let him contend for himself, because his altar has been broken down” Judges 6:31. Afraid of his family and the men of the town, Gideon obeyed God by tearing down Baal’s altar and Asherah’s pole. Predictably, people were upset and wanted justice done against him. Gideon’s father had to step in with this challenge of faith—God is showing Himself to be God and that all false gods are nothing. How similar this is to Christians today. We attend worship services and classes—even obey the gospel—but, out of fear of what our family and friends might think of us, we keep our Christiani-ty to ourselves. As Gideon was an ambassador for God’s resurgence among His people and needed to grow in his boldness, we too must realize that we, who know the salvation that God has won for us through His Son on the cross and resurrection from the tomb, are His ambassadors today for His gospel. We must obey God to tell the lost of His salvation with boldness and in the open, not in secret at night. Do you live by fear or by faith?