Tag Archives: Old Testament

From “Day-by-Day By Grace” Bob Hoekstra

David Confessing God as His Strength

The LORD is the strength of my life . . . The LORD is . . . my strength, in whom I will trust. (Psa_27:1 and Psa_18:2)

Living by grace involves depending upon God to work in our lives. For the greater part of his life, David was an outstanding Old Testament example of such living. This was certainly evident in the way David frequently confessed the Lord as his strength.

For each adult who lives in this fallen world, strength is demanded just to deal with every day responsibilities and challenges. When you add the calling and desire that believers have to please and honor God, much strength is needed day by day. David confessed the Lord as his strength for living. “The LORD is the strength of my life.” How wonderful to know that the Lord is with us to impart His strength in us for every aspect of our lives, whether home, or work, or ministry, or whatever.

In our earthly pilgrimage, we need strength to stay on course. The world, the flesh, and the devil want to prevent us from progressing down the Lord’s perfect path. David found in the Lord the strength for this need as well. “It is God who arms me with strength, and makes my way perfect” (Psa_18:32). At times, when walking along our designated path of life, we get trapped in circumstantial nets, laid by the enemy of our souls. When David experienced these traps, he cried out to God for the necessary strength. “Pull me out of the net which they have secretly laid for me, For You are my strength” (Psa_31:4). At other times along our path, the problem is not a trap, but an all-out battle. Once again, David found the strength he needed in His Lord. “For You have armed me with strength for the battle; You have subdued under me those who rose up against me” (Psa_18:39).

Sometimes, the need for strength pertains to what is going on within (or flowing forth from within). The thoughts we are thinking, and the words we are expressing might need to be anchored again in the will of the Lord. David also knew how to turn to God for this essential strength as well. “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my strength and my redeemer” (Psa_19:14). When he weakened within and stumbled in failure, David still knew where to turn for the only help that will ever prove sufficient. “My flesh and my heart fail; But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” (Psa_73:26). Whatever the need for strength, David learned to rely upon the Lord. “The LORD is . . . my strength, in whom I will trust.”

O Lord, my strength, I need Your strength for daily responsibilities, strength for staying on track with You, strength for periodic battles, strength for weaknesses within, strength to please You. You are my strength; I trust in You!

A Thought on How we Treat God

     They say a good title will make or break you; that it will either draw people in or turn people away, and that’s probably true.  But, I look at it like this: write the truth; as much of it as you know and understand, and just trust that God will lead those who He wants to view it to see it.  So, if you’re reading this I believe with all my heart that you’re not doing so by accident, but by design.  Personally, I don’t think there’s any such thing as accidents, anyway.  I’m not a believer in coincidence, or luck, and I don’t believe, nor-in any way-trust those who claim to read the story of my life in a bunch of tea leaves or in the stars above.  I admit to being perplexed, even baffled, by people who will call a psychic hotline, or anxiously read their horoscope, and go through their entire day anticipating some great foretold event that supposed to happen, but can’t wrap their mind around the thought that an all seeing, all knowing, perfect and holy God is the Creator and Sustainer of all.  Notice I said, all.  (emphasis mine)  This includes you, and me, and every single thing that we know and understand. 

     Have you ever been in a situation where someone: a child, a spouse, a coworker, a customer, continued to question you repeatedly about some issue though you had already told them, and shown them-in every conceivable way-what the answer was?  Like the child traveling long distances who keeps asking, “Are we there yet?”  “When we going to get there?”  we do the same thing to God.  As people, we grow weary of those who refuse to believe us; who continue to make the same mistakes over and over again, and I can hear it now.  That thought running through your mind saying I wouldn’t put up with someone like that.  Well, if you’re a parent, (and even if you’re not) you and I both know you have.  There’s not a parent (an individual) on the planet who hasn’t gone through this with their child, or someone else’s.  You know what I’m saying.  The point is made.  We’ve all been there.

     For those of you who don’t know your Bible, or just have a passing familiarity with it, God, Himself, admits to being wearied by His people.  In the book of Malachi, chapter 2, verse 17, we read, “You have wearied the LORD with your words; “Yet you say, “In what way have we wearied Him?”  In that you say, “Everyone who does evil Is good in the sight of the LORD, And He delights in them,” Or, “Where is the God of justice?” (NKJV).  Now, don’t make the mistake, or get the impression, that God is wearied in the same way that you and I are.  The world at large has this notion of Him, that He is in some way like us, and that alone accounts for the lack of reverence  we give Him.  Let me be clear: He doesn’t get tired; He doesn’t get worn down, He doesn’t lose His temper.  God doesn’t respond or act in the way we do!  The Bible says that we are made in His image, not that He is made in ours, and by this I mean that we are capable of displaying and understanding some of His unique qualities in our own lives to a degree.  The term “wearied” in this verse is in the sense of growing impatient with people who continue to make the same complaint continually despite the fact that He has already answered them.  Now, tell me, who in this world can’t relate to that?

     The people in Malachi’s day were doing the same thing people do today, and they are just as brazen about it.  I believe the term is “In your face.”  Forgive me if I’m behind the times, but you know what I’m saying.  People say today just as they did then, that “God doesn’t care about those who do evil.  If God cared, He wouldn’t allow people who are evil to prosper.”  They asked then, as now, “If God cares so much about Justice, why hasn’t He come already?”  I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard people say something to the effect that if God hasn’t come in two thousand years, why should I worry about or be concerned about whether He’s going to come at all?  I’m going to tell you the same thing that God told them through Malachi.  If God were to come right now, who would be able to stand before His justice?  The answer is no one.  There’s not a single person who can stand before Almighty God alone, but there are those who can stand behind His son.  If God doesn’t care about evil; if He doesn’t care about justice; then why I ask you is so much of God’s word concerned with the wicked?

    What kind of people are we that we despise a God who has extended his mercy and compassion to us rather than His Holy and Just wrath upon us over an interval we call time instead of being filled with gratitude and thankfulness for being given every opportunity to fall before Him in repentance.  The reason the people in Malachi’s time didn’t perish in the light of God’s judgment is the same reason we don’t, and it’s because of who God is; not because of who we are.  How arrogant we are to think that we are anything in and of ourselves, or that we are the owners or possessors of anything.  All that we are and have is because of who He is; because He doesn’t change.  The truth is we (all us humans) are liars and thieves and murderers.  Liars because we promote a religious philosophy that says that God loves every one, and that every one has some good in them, and God is surely too good to send anyone to hell.  Let me state this in the strongest terms possible.  God doesn’t send anyone to hell!  God did everything within His power to keep people (you) from going to hell by doing the unimaginable-something no human will ever be able to fully comprehend-in that He sent His son, Jesus Christ, to die for your sins, to die in your place, to give you a place in Him.  You choose hell.  You choose life.  The choice is yours and everyone makes it of their own accord.  

     We’re thieves in that we take that which doesn’t belong to us, and call it ours.  Our homes, our cars, our children, our money, our lives, and because that’s not enough we take all those things from others as well.  In the Old Testament, a tithe was a tenth-in modern times that would be 10 cents of every dollar-be given for the care of the priests, widows, and orphans.  In the New Testament, the tithe is not even mentioned.  We’re asked to give liberally, cheerfully, and proportionately to the church and those in need, and we can’t even do that.  Imagine if it were the other way around, and God told us we had to give Him 90% and we could only keep 10%.   Can’t you just see people lining up to complain and justify taking more than their fair share?  

     And, worst of all, we’re murderers.  Every single one of us.  You say that’s harsh, that’s too much, that’s not true.  It is true.  It’s truth cries from the unheralded silent voices of children who never got to see the light of day.  It’s truth comes forth in the rampant disintegration of the family, the abuse and outright murder of our young children, the serial monogomy in our society, the proliferation of pornography, and in the almost complete and total abandonment of preaching Biblical doctrine in our churches.  The vile filth in the entertainment industry, the proclamation and promotion of falsehood in the media, and the assault on our freedom, and right of expression to live and worship as we choose are all forms of murder.  We’re all guilty of murder, for no one of us has ever been free of anger, malice, and deceit. 

     What kind of people are we that we treat God like He’s Santa Claus or a credit card?  We praise Him with our lips, but our hands and feet are motionless.  We pray and beg and plead while our bank accounts are full and our checkbooks are balanced.  We plead with Him for His provision, protection, and peace, but we can’t find it within ourselves to extend it to others.  We cry for His compassion, mercy, and love, but can’t hear the cries of others.  We yearn for blessing but can’t stand to walk in obedience to His will.

     Are we any better than the people in the book of Malachi in the way they treated God?