Pursuing God’s Purpose In The Face Of Opposition.

The Book of Ezra shows us how God restores his people and helps them to follow his ways even in the midst of opposition. At the outset, we should notice that the people had returned to the promised land as a result of God’s acting in history to bring about his purposes. I want to look briefly at the flow of  chapters 3-6 in this fascinating book.

In chapter 3 verses 1-6, The Israelites reestablished sacrifice by rebuilding the altar, this meant that they could be reconciled to God and know forgiveness for their sins. The sacrifices all point forward to what Christ would accomplish upon the cross and they testify to the grace of God. It was only right that they should start in this God centred manner. They recognised that God is holy and that he has ordained by his grace the way of salvation. They, therefore, followed the instructions of the word of God in re-introducing sacrifice this must precede the building because a right relationship with God is more important than building the temple. They needed to have that assurance that their sins were forgiven and that they could now walk with the Lord.

Chapter 3:7-13 describes the laying of the foundation of the temple and we need to notice that this is in response to knowing that this is what God had called them to. They, therefore, did not see this as just a building project but also as  a time to worship the Lord. If they were going to build in the way God wanted them to it had to be with Him at the centre and therefore the ministry of the priests was vital at this point. It also shows to us the importance of worship for the whole of Christian ministry, worship shows that we are depending on God for all things it is the opposite of doing things in our own strength. Let’s look at how that is described in the book of Ezra,

10 When the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the LORD, the priests in their vestments and with trumpets, and the Levites (the sons of Asaph) with cymbals, took their places to praise the LORD, as prescribed by David king of Israel. 11 With praise and thanksgiving they sang to the LORD:

“He is good;
his love toward Israel endures forever.” (Ezr 3:10–11).

They followed the directions of the word of God for worship they came with praise and thanksgiving to the LORD, celebrating the fact that he is good  and his love endures forever.

The majority of the people rejoiced in what God was doing amongst them, but a minority looked back with sadness to what they thought were the better days of the old temple. This was a problem that would hamper the people at times as can be seen in the writings of Haggai and Zechariah.

Chapter 4 Is all about the way the surrounding people tried to interfere with the building of the temple and their opposition to it. Their first tactic was to try the path of compromise but the people resisted that because they knew that the form of religion that surrounding nations had was tainted with paganism, they knew that to compromise here would destroy all that were meant to be doing. This uncompromising attitude provoked the hostility of their enemies and brought about an enforced halt to the work on the temple. This darkness of frustration is the opportunity for God to address his people through the Prophets and get them rebuilding again.

24 Thus the work on the house of God in Jerusalem came to a standstill until the second year of the reign of Darius king of Persia.

5 Now Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the prophet, a descendant of Iddo, prophesied to the Jews in Judah and Jerusalem in the name of the God of Israel, who was over them. 2 Then Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel and Joshua son of Jozadak set to work to rebuild the house of God in Jerusalem. And the prophets of God were with them, supporting them. (Ezr 4:24–5:2).

As the prophets spoke to the people they encouraged them to restart work on the temple and through both the rebuke and encouragement of these prophets the people began to see the way forward. As we look at chapter 5 and 6 We see that ?God is sovereign and he enables them to answer their opponents wisely with the result that the King decrees that the temple must be completed. We see here a complete turnaround in the situation. Not only are the allowed to build the temple, they are given the financial and material provision that they need to build. We see how god takes his people through times of trouble and discouragement and builds them up again..

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The Holy Spirit in the life of a Christian: an overview.

The very important subject of the Person and work of the Holy spirit is often a neglected area of study or an area where there are  imbalances of teaching. In this post, I am trying to give an overview of the work of the Holy Spirit in the believer’s life, I am convinced that we need to realise that the Holy Spirit is a personal and empowering presence in our lives. He is not someone who can be safely relegated to doctrine but rather someone who needs to be welcomed into every area of the Christian’s life and witness.

The Spirit’s role in bringing us to faith

The New Birth is essential for anyone to become a Christian, if we have not been born again we are not truly Christians. The Holy spirit is the one who works in our lives and opens our eyes to the need of a Saviour. We need to be clear here that each testimony will be different because the Holy Spirit works with us as individuals. Jesus very clearly teaches about the new birth when he says,

Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. 6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. (Jn 3:5–6).

Our spiritual life is dependent upon the Holy Spirit working within us and leading us to put our faith in the good news of the gospel.

The book of Acts gives us many examples of the way the Lord brings people to faith, it is interesting to compare the testimonies of believers in Acts 16 ,

14 One of those listening was a woman from the city of Thyatira named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth. She was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message. 15 When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home. “If you consider me a believer in the Lord,” she said, “come and stay at my house.” And she persuaded us. (Ac 16:14–16).

25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose. 27 The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!”
29 The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
31 They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” 32 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. 33 At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his household were baptized(Ac 16:25–33).

The contrast between these two stories is immense, the latter case is very dramatic but the first is very gentle, this illustrates the diverse way the Holy spirit works in our lives. I have heard people say that they wish their conversion experience had been more dramatic but this is to forget that the Lord works in us in the way that he sees is best suited to us.

What is your own experience of the Spirit leading you to faith in Christ?

Sanctification:  13 But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters loved by the Lord, because God chose you as firstfruits to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth. 14 He called you to this through our gospel, that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

To be sanctified is to be set apart for a good and noble purpose, the Holy spirit sanctifies us to make us more like Jesus. In other words, he leads us into Holy Living.

13 But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters loved by the Lord, because God chose you as firstfruits to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth. 14 He called you to this through our gospel, that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

15 So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter.  (2 Th 2:13–15).

16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.  (Ga 5:16–17).

Paul here holds together belief in the truth and being sanctified by the Holy Spirit sometimes today people overemphasise doctrine at the expense of being open to the Holy Spirit, or on the other extreme so emphasise the work of the Holy Spirit that truth is forgotten. We need to realise that the Holy Spirit is the one who inspired the Holy Scriptures and he leads us according to those same scriptures. The Scripture reveals to us a God who wants to be active in our lives through the dynamic work of the Holy Spirit.This means that we depend upon the Holy Spirit to make us spiritually grow. Are you depending on the Holy Spirit moment by moment to help you grow?

Are you depending on the Holy Spirit moment by moment to help you grow?

Fruit of the Spirit 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. (Ga 5:22–24).

If we desire to be fruitful for the Lord we will need to depend upon the Holy spirit to produce his fruit in us, how are we doing this? Look at each aspect of the fruit and prayerfully ask the Lord where do I need to grow more?

Baptism with the Holy Spirit

The Lord Jesus knew that the baptism of the Holy Spirit was a vital experience for his disciples to have if they were to impact the world with the gospel. He, therefore, tells them to wait for this blessing before trying to witness for him.

4 On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”  (Ac 1:4–5).  See also Acts 2 for the fulfilment of this promise.

The book of Acts shows us what can happen when Christians are baptised with the Holy Spirit, time after time we see the Holy Spirit powerfully at work as he uses ordinary men and women to minister his love. Everything that is achieved in the book of Acts is because the early church knew the reality of the empowering presence of God. We must ask ourselves do we know that same reality that the early church knew or it foreign to us.

We must realise that God is always willing to give this gift to us , as Jesus said,

13 If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”  (Lk 11:13)

The baptism with the Holy Spirit is given to empower us for a life of service and witness for the Lord. When we are baptised in the Holy Spirit we have a deep realisation of God’s presence and blessing which is manifested through praise, speaking in tongues and prophecy.

Have you received the baptism of the Holy Spirit? If not, why not ask for it right now?

 Being filled with the Holy Spirit:

 Be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.  (Eph 5:18–21)

We are baptised with the Holy spirit once but there are to be many fillings, in fact, the apostle expects the believers to be full of the Spirit every day. as we look at the wider context of this verse we will realise that being full of the Holy spirit is something we need for the whole of our lives. The verses following this talk about family life,marriage and work which shows how comprehensive the spirit filled life is. sometimes we can think of the Spirit-filled life as something we tack on to ordinary living, this is not the case, Spirit-filled living should be the normal Christian life.

Notice that Paul commands the Ephesians to be full of the Holy Spirit, this needs to be a constant experience because as D L Moody once said, “We are leaky vessels”.  are you seeking the filling of the Spirit every day?

Are you seeking the filling of the Spirit every day?



Gifts of the Holy Spirit

The gifts of the Spirit are vital for the Christian life and the edification of the Church, they were not taken away at the end of the apostolic period, there is no evidence for that on the pages of scripture. We need to realise that God has not changed and he still equips His church for ministry. some people think that the gifts of the Holy Spirit are weird but they are not that, rather they bring the loving grace of God into a situation in a very real and dynamic way. Sometimes we will find it hard to step out in faith even when god prompts us to use his gifts, but we will realise when we do what a blessing that gift is to the body of Christ. The Apostle Paul listed some of the Gifts in 1 Corinthians,

 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.

7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8 To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines (1 Co 12:4–11).

Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy.  (1 Co 14:1) also see Romans 12 and Ephesians 4

The gifts of the Holy Spirit are given for the upbuilding of the Church, not for our spiritual prestige but rather so that we can serve one another. We should, therefore, be open to all the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

Are you open to all that the Holy Spirit wants to give you? Do you desire to serve God in his way?

Spiritual Warfare.

We are involved in a spiritual battle against the forces of darkness and at times the Christian life is not easy but the Lord has provided all that we need to be involved in the battle, Paul put it this way,

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armour of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armour of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. (Eph 6:10–18)

We are involved in a spiritual battle and we therefore need to rely on the Holy Spirit to enable us to use all the armour and weapons he has provided for us. Paul gives us a comprehensive list of armour that God has provided for us and he has also provided us with the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God. Paul also ties praying in the Spirit into the whole area of Spiritual warfare, it is in prayer that we depend on God. all of our praying is meant to be Spirit lead praying. The Spirit is able and willing to guide us in our praying and he helps us in our weakness to cry out to God.

Are you relying on the Lord for his strength or are you trying to live the Christian life in your own strength?


I have tried to show abo the importance of a dynamic relationship with the Holy Spirit and I hope that as you read these words you will desire to know the Holy spirit working more deeply within you.



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Judgement, Grace and the Outpouring of the Holy Spirit

In Isaiah 44 we encounter a passage which is full of assurance of the love, sovereignty, and justice of God. The prophet has demonstrated that Israel has been justly judged by God and their time of exile is a result of their own sinfulness, but here he shows that God has not cast off his people but rather is loving towards them. In some ways, there is a tension in this chapter between grace and judgement but in the end grace triumphs. God never takes sin lightly and he, therefore, speaks strongly against it but this is not the end of the matter because He is a gracious God. We can never take God’s grace for granted and the effect of that grace is shown in transformed lives. The God of the Bible speaks to bring comfort to those who are fearful, to bring hope in times of darkness and difficulty. Let us now look at how God speaks through Isaiah to his people.

“But now listen, Jacob, my servant,
Israel, whom I have chosen.
2 This is what the LORD says—
he who made you, who formed you in the womb,
and who will help you:
Do not be afraid, Jacob, my servant,
Jeshurun, whom I have chosen.
3 For I will pour water on the thirsty land,
and streams on the dry ground;
I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring,
and my blessing on your descendants.
4 They will spring up like grass in a meadow,
like poplar trees by flowing streams.
5 Some will say, ‘I belong to the LORD’;
others will call themselves by the name of Jacob;
still others will write on their hand, ‘The LORD’s,’
and will take the name Israel.(Is 44:1–6).

The reason the Lord says that they are not to fear is because he is their God, who formed the nation in the first place and has cared for it ever since. Notice how he reassures them of his love, he is going to help them. they have felt distant from God and they feel as though they are dry ground, parched by the constant scorching of the sun, how can anything grow in these circumstances. God makes the promise to water the ground of their lives by pouring out His Spirit on them. This coming of the Spirit brings his blessing with it, notice that the promise is made to the offspring as well. the result of this outpouring is that people are able and willing to identify themselves as followers of God. There is a deep and profound assurance in their hearts which gives them the ability to stand firm as the people of God. This passage should encourage us to turn to the Lord at all times, confessing our sins before a gracious and holy God.

6 “This is what the LORD says—
Israel’s King and Redeemer, the LORD Almighty:
I am the first and I am the last;
apart from me there is no God.
7 Who then is like me? Let him proclaim it.
Let him declare and lay out before me
what has happened since I established my ancient people,
and what is yet to come—
yes, let them foretell what will come.
8 Do not tremble, do not be afraid.
Did I not proclaim this and foretell it long ago?
You are my witnesses. Is there any God besides me?
No, there is no other Rock; I know not one.” (Is 44:6–8)

The LORD proclaims his own sovereignty  and uniqueness, he is the one in control of all things, the Lord of all history. The Lord knows what is going to happen and is the only one who can reveal it exactly. These statements make good theology but more importantly, they make a solid foundation for the believer’s life of faith, This God is our God and he can be trusted he is our Rock.

9 All who make idols are nothing,
and the things they treasure are worthless.
Those who would speak up for them are blind;
they are ignorant, to their own shame.
10 Who shapes a god and casts an idol,
which can profit nothing?
11 People who do that will be put to shame;
such craftsmen are only human beings.
Let them all come together and take their stand;
they will be brought down to terror and shame.

12 The blacksmith takes a tool
and works with it in the coals;
he shapes an idol with hammers,
he forges it with the might of his arm.
He gets hungry and loses his strength;
he drinks no water and grows faint.
13 The carpenter measures with a line
and makes an outline with a marker;
he roughs it out with chisels
and marks it with compasses.
He shapes it in human form,
human form in all its glory,
that it may dwell in a shrine.
14 He cut down cedars,
or perhaps took a cypress or oak.
He let it grow among the trees of the forest,
or planted a pine, and the rain made it grow.
15 It is used as fuel for burning;
some of it he takes and warms himself,
he kindles a fire and bakes bread.
But he also fashions a god and worships it;
he makes an idol and bows down to it.
16 Half of the wood he burns in the fire;
over it he prepares his meal,
he roasts his meat and eats his fill.
He also warms himself and says,
“Ah! I am warm; I see the fire.”
17 From the rest he makes a god, his idol;
he bows down to it and worships.
He prays to it and says,
“Save me! You are my god!”
18 They know nothing, they understand nothing;
their eyes are plastered over so they cannot see,
and their minds closed so they cannot understand.
19 No one stops to think,
no one has the knowledge or understanding to say,
“Half of it I used for fuel;
I even baked bread over its coals,
I roasted meat and I ate.
Shall I make a detestable thing from what is left?
Shall I bow down to a block of wood?”
20 Such a person feeds on ashes; a deluded heart misleads him;
he cannot save himself, or say,
“Is not this thing in my right hand a lie?”. (Is 44:9–20)

The prophet then addresses the folly of idolatry in the light of the revelation of who God is, this is a scathing critique but it is a necessary warning given Israel’s propensity to go after false God’s. He hammers the point home and shows how false worship can come about in an unthinking way. We need to be careful that we also avoid the idols of our own time because we are just as likely to put other things in the place of the living God.

21 “Remember these things, Jacob,
for you, Israel, are my servant.
I have made you, you are my servant;
Israel, I will not forget you.
22 I have swept away your offenses like a cloud,
your sins like the morning mist.
Return to me,
for I have redeemed you.”

23 Sing for joy, you heavens, for the LORD has done this;
shout aloud, you earth beneath.
Burst into song, you mountains,
you forests and all your trees,
for the LORD has redeemed Jacob,
he displays his glory in Israel. (Is 44:21–24)

The Lord once again reminds his people of their love for them and his gracious forgiveness of their sins. The LORD insists that he will not forget his people. He calls them to return to him, they need to repent of their sins and receive his forgiveness and then they will be able to praise the Lord along with the created order.

24 “This is what the LORD says—
your Redeemer, who formed you in the womb:

I am the LORD,
the Maker of all things,
who stretches out the heavens,
who spreads out the earth by myself,
25 who foils the signs of false prophets
and makes fools of diviners,
who overthrows the learning of the wise
and turns it into nonsense,
26 who carries out the words of his servants
and fulfills the predictions of his messengers,

who says of Jerusalem, ‘It shall be inhabited,’
of the towns of Judah, ‘They shall be rebuilt,’
and of their ruins, ‘I will restore them,’
27 who says to the watery deep, ‘Be dry,
and I will dry up your streams,’
28 who says of Cyrus, ‘He is my shepherd
and will accomplish all that I please;
he will say of Jerusalem, “Let it be rebuilt,”
and of the temple, “Let its foundations be laid.” ’ (Is 44:24–28)

God has decided to bring about blessing for his people and  as the creator of the earth, he is more than able to do this thing. He will overturn the teachings of false prophets and the statements of the wise, he will remain faithful to his promises and therefore he can be relied upon. The promise of these verses was fulfilled literally.

22 In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the LORD spoken by Jeremiah, the LORD moved the heart of Cyrus king of Persia to make a proclamation throughout his realm and also to put it in writing:

23 “This is what Cyrus king of Persia says:
“ ‘The LORD, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and he has appointed me to build a temple for him at Jerusalem in Judah. Any of his people among you may go up, and may the LORD their God be with them.’ ” (2 Ch 36:22–23)

Ezra also records this in the first chapter of his book, the fact that God is a God who keeps his word should be a tremendous comfort to us. The sovereign Lord is on the throne and we are his children, he cares for us greatly and will use his sovereign power to protect us and bring us to the place of blessing.





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The Grace: A summary of our salvation.

In 2 Corinthians 13, the Apostle Paul prays for his readers a very simple but profound prayer, he prays in these words,

14 May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. (2 Co 13:14 NIV).

We regularly use these words at the end of our Church services but do we reflect on the depth of what we are wishing one another when we say these words to our brothers and sisters in Christ. So I want to briefly look at each section.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, grace is always unmerited favour in the Bible, we can not earn our salvation. But grace is not just a gift in some abstract sense but comes in the form of a person, the Lord Jesus Christ. He was willing to set aside the glory of being in heaven to come and live and die with and for sinners. His name Jesus means that he will save his people from their sins and he comes as the anointed of God. But he is also the Lord the one who reigns. our saviour is a powerful Saviour. He laid aside the majesty of heaven so he could defeat sin and Satan and give new life to all those who would believe in him. The Scriptures show how he achieved that salvation for us and that he is now exalted at the Father’s right hand where he intercedes for us. One day he is coming back in glory to bring his whole work of salvation to completion. Looking at the scope of our salvation is awe inspiring but we have left so many dimensions out, for, instance we are united with Christ and because of his grace we can walk with him from day to day in  a personal way.

The love of God, As sinners we are aware that we do not deserve the love of God, in fact, we deserve God’s just judgement. And yet God does love us enough to send his only son into this world to live and die for us. But more than that all who have truly believed the gospel message have entered into the strong and eternal love of God. The Scripture assures that God’s love is powerful, Paul puts it this way,  “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Ro 8:38–9:1). This knowledge of the love of God should give us a confidence in God’s loving care and provision for us. It should also cause us to worship him, for he alone deserves the glory.

The fellowship of the Holy Spirit, The Holy spirit draws us into fellowship with Almighty God and into fellowship with one another. The Holy Spirit indwells each believer and empowers them. He enables us to pray and he also produces the fruit of the Holy Spirit within us. His presence enables to draw near to God. he speaks to us in various ways but he primarily uses the Scriptures that he inspired for this purpose. He speaks to us also through the varied gifts of the Holy Spirit which are used to build the Church up. We are also told that we should be full of the Holy Spirit, this will make us more like Jesus, for he was the man filled with the Holy Spirit and he accomplished all his wonderful acts because of that fact. So many people think that being filled with the Holy Spirit will make them weird and they are afraid of opening up to him. We can see from the Biblical record that Jesus and the disciples were not weird but rather they were able to do what God wanted them to do.

The saving acts of the Triune God:  This prayer of the Apostle Paul shows how each person of the Holy Trinity is involved in our salvation. It is important to see that salvation is not something just achieved for us by Jesus as both the Father and the Holy Spirit are involved. as we have seen Jesus gave his all for us but he only did so because of the Father’s love for us and this is all made real in our lives through the powerful work of the Holy Spirit.These few comments show something of the greatness of God’s salvation and our only response is to worship and adore our wonderful, gracious and loving God.


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King David Encounters The Awesome Presence of God

King David was a man who sought the Lord and wanted to know his presence of God in his and the nation’s life, because of this he wanted the Ark of the Covenant to be in Jerusalem.In his zeal to bring the Ark to Jerusalem, he fails to follow the commands of the Law and instead he imitates the way Philistines had used to return the Ark. god uses this incident to remind David and all those who read this account that he is a Holy and Righteous God who commands us to seek him in his own way. David was right to want to practice the presence of God, where he went wrong was trying to do it in a way that seemed right to him. It takes the death of Uzzah to make David realise how awesome God really is.

David again brought together all the able young men of Israel—thirty thousand. 2 He and all his men went to Baalah in Judah to bring up from there the ark of God, which is called by the Name, the name of the LORD Almighty, who is enthroned between the cherubim on the ark. 3 They set the ark of God on a new cart and brought it from the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill. Uzzah and Ahio, sons of Abinadab, were guiding the new cart 4 with the ark of God on it, and Ahio was walking in front of it. 5 David and all Israel were celebrating with all their might before the LORD, with castanets, harps, lyres, timbrels, sistrums and cymbals.
6 When they came to the threshing floor of Nakon, Uzzah reached out and took hold of the ark of God, because the oxen stumbled. 7 The LORD’s anger burned against Uzzah because of his irreverent act; therefore God struck him down, and he died there beside the ark of God.
8 Then David was angry because the LORD’s wrath had broken out against Uzzah, and to this day that place is called Perez Uzzah.
9 David was afraid of the LORD that day and said, “How can the ark of the LORD ever come to me?” 10 He was not willing to take the ark of the LORD to be with him in the City of David. Instead, he took it to the house of Obed-Edom the Gittite.
The New International Version. (2011). (2 Sa 6:1–10). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

David’s heart was in the right place but he used the wrong means there were strict instructions as to who was to carry the Ark and Uzzah is not one of the Priests and he is therefore not entitled to touch the Ark. Notice that the actions of Uzzah are described as  an “irreverent act”, The Lord is able to protect his own ark, he does not need the help of man. We must remember too that as we seek to practice the presence of God, we need to do so as those who realise that our God is holy as well as gracious. We must not explain this away as being just an Old Testament story because we see that God moves in judgement in similar ways in the New Testament. The Apostle John in the book of Revelation shows the greatness ,glory and majesty of our God, yet John and David were to also realise that this Holy God is a Gracious and Loving God. When we realise that God is present and working powerfully in our lives , we encounter God both as holy and gracious. Our sins condemn us in the light of God’s holiness but God in his great grace grants us forgiveness and newness of life. As the account continues we see that God’s grace is manifested,

11 The ark of the LORD remained in the house of Obed-Edom the Gittite for three months, and the LORD blessed him and his entire household.
12 Now King David was told, “The LORD has blessed the household of Obed-Edom and everything he has, because of the ark of God.” So David went to bring up the ark of God from the house of Obed-Edom to the City of David with rejoicing. 13 When those who were carrying the ark of the LORD had taken six steps, he sacrificed a bull and a fattened calf. 14 Wearing a linen ephod, David was dancing before the LORD with all his might, 15 while he and all Israel were bringing up the ark of the LORD with shouts and the sound of trumpets.The New International Version. (2011). (2 Sa 6:11–15). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

Notice here that Obed-edom is blessed because the Lord is present, this is god acting in his grace towards people. It soon became obvious to all around that the presence of the Lord made a great difference, Obed-Edom and his whole household were blessed. The word soon got back to David and he realised that he needed to bring the ark to Jerusalem in the right way. This next attempt to bring the Ark to Jerusalem was successful because it followed the pattern of the Law of God. At every step of the way, God is honoured. David organises the Priests to carry the ark but he also provides sacrifices. These actions show that David realised that he was entirely dependent upon the grace of God. This time, he comes up to Jerusalem with rejoicing knowing that God is great and that he is gracious. David found the presence of God to be exciting, reverence for David did not mean standing quietly but rather he excitedly dances before the Lord. Sometimes we see others worshipping in a way we are not used to and we find ourselves being critical when we should be rejoicing with others.

16 As the ark of the LORD was entering the City of David, Michal daughter of Saul watched from a window. And when she saw King David leaping and dancing before the LORD, she despised him in her heart.
17 They brought the ark of the LORD and set it in its place inside the tent that David had pitched for it, and David sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings before the LORD. 18 After he had finished sacrificing the burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the LORD Almighty. 19 Then he gave a loaf of bread, a cake of dates and a cake of raisins to each person in the whole crowd of Israelites, both men and women. And all the people went to their homes.
20 When David returned home to bless his household, Michal daughter of Saul came out to meet him and said, “How the king of Israel has distinguished himself today, going around half-naked in full view of the slave girls of his servants as any vulgar fellow would!”
21 David said to Michal, “It was before the LORD, who chose me rather than your father or anyone from his house when he appointed me ruler over the LORD’s people Israel—I will celebrate before the LORD. 22 I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes. But by these slave girls you spoke of, I will be held in honor.”
23 And Michal daughter of Saul had no children to the day of her death.
The New International Version. (2011). (2 Sa 6:16–7:1). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

Michal, David’s wife was critical of David for his dancing before the Lord and she despised him for it. these actions brought about God’s judgement upon her. David was confident that he was worshipping the Lord with his whole being and he knew that he was not being dishonoured by the ordinary person. David was willing to be seen as undignified if that would exalt God more, David sees his so called lack  of dignity as coming directly from his worship of God.

How can we apply this to ourselves today, (1) We should seek the Lord as wholeheartedly as David did,  (2) We must remember that we serve a God of holy love, a God who is righteous and gracious? (3) We must realise that God is always present to bless his people and he desires that they walk closely with him.

Will we desire to pursue the presence of God in our lives because we know how great a God he is and because we want to give him all the honour and glory?

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Doing things God’s way

When David became King of Israel the author purposely contrasts David’s listening to the Lord with Saul’s disobedience. Saul was defeated because of his disobedience, he had not listened to the Lord. David, on the other hand, is portrayed as someone who enquires of the Lord. David realises that each situation is different and he needs to seek the Lord in fresh ways. People often say that God has spoken once for all in His word and that is true but that does not mean that he is now a silent God, or a God confined to speaking through the pages of a book. The character and attributes of the Triune God show that he is a God who relates to his people. Obviously, in that relationship, he never contradicts his written word and it is that Word which we use to test everything else. David knows that as he seeks God he will guide David in the best way to act. We too can have a confidence that the living God wants to guide and direct our paths. We should live more in the expectancy of hearing from God through his word and through prophetic direction and the varied gifts of the Holy Spirit.

David found himself as we so often do in the situation where he was being attacked because he was walking in God’s ways, David had been anointed not only by the people but much earlier by Samuel at the express command of God. After years of problems he is at last able to walk in the path, God had singled out for him. It is important to stress here that David knew years before what God would eventually do but he had to wait for God’s timing, David’s life was far from easy as he waited but the trials of the waiting period would help shape his characters for the battles that lay ahead of him. When God keeps us waiting we grow impatient but the Lord uses these times to cause us to grow and become more godly. But I want to show now how David had learnt to depend on the Lord when life gets tough.

17 When the Philistines heard that David had been anointed king over Israel, they went up in full force to search for him, but David heard about it and went down to the stronghold. 18 Now the Philistines had come and spread out in the Valley of Rephaim; 19 so David inquired of the LORD, “Shall I go and attack the Philistines? Will you deliver them into my hands?”
The LORD answered him, “Go, for I will surely deliver the Philistines into your hands.”
20 So David went to Baal Perazim, and there he defeated them. He said, “As waters break out, the LORD has broken out against my enemies before me.” So that place was called Baal Perazim. 21 The Philistines abandoned their idols there, and David and his men carried them off.
The New International Version. (2011). (2 Sa 5:17–21). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

The Philistines were opposed to everything that the Kingship of David stood for and they wanted to rid the world of this man. They declared war and gathered in a great number to oppose David but David does not just go and attack the Philistines, he enquires of the Lord and it is only when the Lord promises him the victory that he goes into battle. David knows that his victory has come about because of God’s deliverance not because of his skills as a warrior. We need to realise that in the conflicts of life we too need to see the Lord guiding and leading us.

22 Once more the Philistines came up and spread out in the Valley of Rephaim; 23 so David inquired of the LORD, and he answered, “Do not go straight up, but circle around behind them and attack them in front of the poplar trees. 24 As soon as you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the poplar trees, move quickly, because that will mean the LORD has gone out in front of you to strike the Philistine army.” 25 So David did as the LORD commanded him, and he struck down the Philistines all the way from Gibeon to Gezer.The New International Version. (2011). (2 Sa 5:22–25). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

David realised that fighting the Lord’s battles was not a technique but rather depended upon listening to the Lord afresh in each situation, so he does not presume to go into battle the same way again but rather seeks the Lord and receives his strategy from him. We need to take this same attitude with us into the conflicts of spiritual warfare and indeed as we seek guidance as to how to live our lives in a way that honours our God. Sometimes as in David’s case here we need to go about things in a way that is not obvious but David proved that God’s way is the best way.     The challenge of this passage is to remind us that we are in a dynamic relationship with almighty God who in his love and grace know far better than us what is wise and good and therefore we are to depend upon him for all that we need.

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“The Legal Basis for a Moral Constitution” by Jenna Ellis: Some reflections in response.

Regular readers of this blog will know that I am British and may wonder why I would deal with a book looking at the American Constitution, there are several reasons for this, firstly, I am married to an American citizen. secondly, I owe a debt to many American Christian thinkers and especially the work of Francis Schaeffer. The most important reason to respond is that I applaud the Author’s determination to uphold Biblical morality. Obviously as a Briton, I am not used to having a written constitution, our constitutional settlement is made up from several strands of law going back to the Magna Carta and the development of both representative democracy and the constitutional monarchy. However, the erosion of the biblical basis of both societies is similar.

It is vital that evangelical Christians stand for biblical morality against the growing forces of humanism but sometimes our understanding of various issues linked to these issues will differ.I want to make it clear that any disagreements expressed below with some of the author’s positions are meant to be constructive criticism. I hope that any discussion will be civil and will show the love and respect that Christians should show to one another. For a quick summary of my own position on the importance of being pro-life please read my https://pneumaandlogos.com/2012/10/18/what-does-it-mean-to-be-pro-life/                 and also on the issue of marriage see  https://pneumaandlogos.com/2013/01/08/letter-to-the-british-prime-minister/

The author is absolutely right to maintain that any document including the Constitution must have an original meaning which must be maintained. If any organization is governed by a Constitution then the meaning the authors assigned to the text must be maintained. The American Supreme Court has treated the constitution as though it can mean different things at different times which to my mind goes against the whole of idea of a constitution having a fixed meaning to guide the governance of a society, state or church. When I was part of a team that drafted our Church constitution we intended every word to have a fixed meaning and the same is obviously the case with the drafters of the American Constitution.

Social Contract Theory: Jenna Ellis rightly critiques Jean-Jaques Rousseau’s view of the social contract theory and on the basis of that critique claims that the American constitution is not influenced by social contract theory. However I am not sure that this judgement is correct because historians have often said that the Founding Fathers of the United States were influenced by the philosophy of John Locke. John Locke’s social contract theory was written by a man who claimed to be a Christian and examines the Biblical text in his writings. To not engage Locke in this book is a real oversight his form of Christian rationalism had a great impact in Great Britain and in Early American colonies. Until I had started reading this book I had not read anything by John Locke for over forty years but I have started reading him again. One of the things that has come to light is how similar Locke’s critique of tyranny is to the quotes from the founding fathers in this book. Locke also refers to the work of Hobbes who also held the social contract theory. These two authors and the impact they had in their day make me very hesitant to agree with the author on the matter of the social contract. If she had engaged with Locke and Hobbes in the same way she did with Rousseau I might well have been convinced. At this point I am not saying the author is definetly wrong but rather she has not proven her case because of insufficient evidence.

Marxism: I mus admit I groaned inwardly when I saw the “Naked Communist” quoted, I thought that this work had been discredited many years ago. Just looking through “The Naked Communist” makes me wonder if the author had read much of Karl Marx. I have huge problems with some of his assertions,  in the 1960’s British Communist Party officials told me that the permissive society was a threat of social change as it risked leaving the workers more content with their chains. At this time, I was shown a booklet printed in Moscow highlighting the dangers of the permissive society. I find it fascinating that the President of Russia, who is a former KGB official holds to quite a strict moral code, this is in line with what I was told in the sixties by prominent British Communists.

One sentence on page p148 is just wrong, we are told that “Marxist theory is rooted in Communism” This is to get things back to front we should have been told that Communism is rooted in Marxist theory, I don’t know if this is just sloppy thinking at this point or what. but having studied Marx and Marxism quite closely The original statement does not make sense to me. My three lectures critiquing Marxism are still availble for purchase (These were given in 1977 or 1978)


One of the problems with the Naked Communist and many other reactions to Marxism and Socialism is that they are seen as a monolithic whole rather than understanding the differences of emphasis and at times worldview. Many Social Democrats who would call themselves socialist are definitely not revolutionary Marxists but work within the democratic structures to bring about social change.

Is Violent Revolution consistent with biblical revelation? Obviously, Jenna Ellis thinks the answer to this question is yes she believes that the American colonies were warranted in their rebellion because of my own background of political involvement I would like to have found reasons in Scripture to justify a revolution but I cannot find them. On the contrary I find numerous trxts that lead in the opposite direction. Romans 13:1-7 leaves no room for revolution but rather calls for submission to the Roman authorities, Titus 3:1-2 contain the same teaching and the Apostle Peter also says much the same thing in 1Peter 2:13-17 these passages collectively and by themselves show that we are to rebel. But this does not rule out civil disobedience to unjust laws, we have examples of this in both the Old Testament and in the New Testament, but civil diobedience recognizes that we may have to face the cobsequences of being punished by the State. We see this in the book of Daniel and again in the Book of Acts.

Pacifism: some have already asked me whether I am a Pacifist, The answer to that is no I am not. I however do believe that the use of nuclear weapons is always unjust as is Chemical warfare. A just war tries to repel evil using the minimum force necessary. In our modern world warfare is often engaged in before other options have been explored.

If you have not read the book I am engaging with and you are interested in the issues raised you can obtain the book from Amazon. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Legal-Basis-Moral-Constitution-Constitutional/dp/1512722758/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qi

or http://www.amazon.com/Legal-Basis-Moral-Constitution-Constitutional/dp/1512722758/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=146348

My purpose in engaging in this whole excercise is to offer consructive criticism, I repeat again that what we stand against unites us more than divides us and we both serve and love the true and living God.



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Celebrating our Glorious Liberation: An Invitation to receive Holy Communion

We are invited to come to this Sacred Table by our Lord himself. The Lord Jesus on the night he was betrayed shared the Passover meal with his disciples during this time he instituted this meal as a sign of the New Covenant.

It is because of his grace that we can come freely knowing that our sins are forgiven through what the Lord Jesus accomplshed through his death and resurrection.

We come to this table knowing that the way has been made to come into the very presence of God, the Israelites passed through the Red Sea and the River Jordan because God had made the way for them, how much greater is the love and grace that is shown to us in the death of Christ. so we look back with assurance knowing that he has finished the work of salvation for us.

The people of Israel had to depend upon the Lord to guide, direct and provide for them as they went on their wilderness journey, we too are called upon to seek the Lord for his grace which is on display before us today. we are called to this table to receive the bread of life in a fresh way today.

As the Lord leads his people through the wilderness to the promised land, he reminds us today that one day He will come back again to make all things new. On that great day we will enter the eternal promised land from which no man can expel us because we will be in the presence of the Lord God Almighty.

So let us come to this table with gratitude in our hearts and praise on our lips to receive again the grace we need.

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Enjoying God and Knowing God’s Heart For The Poor

Very often when we think of God’s heart for the poor we tend to feel guilty about what we possess the perspective that the Lord gives us in chapters 14 and 15 of Deuteronomy is very different from that. We are told that we can rejoice in what God has given us but at the same time we must look out for others. Obviously, this does not include any form of exploitation in gaining our own income. God,  in fact, does not want there to be any poor but he desires equality however he realises that fallen humans will make unwise,mistaken and foolish decisions that can lead to poverty. He also cares fro the widow and the orphan who are poor through no fault of their own. The New Testament Church cared for the truly needy and the New Testament is quite explicit that we should continue to provide for the poor. The Bible always protests against injustice and stands for righteousness, truth and justice.

Firstly, We need to look at how God commands us to rejoice in all the good things he has given to us.

22 Be sure to set aside a tenth of all that your fields produce each year. 23 Eat the tithe of your grain, new wine and olive oil, and the firstborn of your herds and flocks in the presence of the LORD your God at the place he will choose as a dwelling for his Name, so that you may learn to revere the LORD your God always. 24 But if that place is too distant and you have been blessed by the LORD your God and cannot carry your tithe (because the place where the LORD will choose to put his Name is so far away), 25 then exchange your tithe for silver, and take the silver with you and go to the place the LORD your God will choose. 26 Use the silver to buy whatever you like: cattle, sheep, wine or other fermented drink, or anything you wish. Then you and your household shall eat there in the presence of the LORD your God and rejoice. 27 And do not neglect the Levites living in your towns, for they have no allotment or inheritance of their own.

The New International Version. (2011). (Dt 14:22–27). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

It is important to notice here that this tithe is for rejoicing before the Lord with good food and drink. We must notice that although there is the command to consume these things, it is before the Lord acknowledging his Lordship over our lives. this is having a party in the presence of the Lord. When we look at this way it is quite radical and certainly gives the lie to the idea that God is a spoilsport.  God intends us to enjoy worshipping him. But this is only one aspect of his care for people as chapter 15 demonstrates. In chapter 15 We find that God is concerned about the economic welfare of his people. He is A God who has instituted economic justice for his people. The economic provisions of the Mosaic law show that God’s best purpose is economic equality. Yet being the all wise God he knows that fallen man will have problems with their use of money and possessions and to this subject we now turn.

15 At the end of every seven years you must cancel debts. 2 This is how it is to be done: Every creditor shall cancel any loan they have made to a fellow Israelite. They shall not require payment from anyone among their own people, because the LORD’s time for canceling debts has been proclaimed. 3 You may require payment from a foreigner, but you must cancel any debt your fellow Israelite owes you. 4 However, there need be no poor people among you, for in the land the LORD your God is giving you to possess as your inheritance, he will richly bless you, 5 if only you fully obey the LORD your God and are careful to follow all these commands I am giving you today. 6 For the LORD your God will bless you as he has promised, and you will lend to many nations but will borrow from none. You will rule over many nations but none will rule over you.
7 If anyone is poor among your fellow Israelites in any of the towns of the land the LORD your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward them. 8 Rather, be openhanded and freely lend them whatever they need. 9 Be careful not to harbor this wicked thought: “The seventh year, the year for canceling debts, is near,” so that you do not show ill will toward the needy among your fellow Israelites and give them nothing. They may then appeal to the LORD against you, and you will be found guilty of sin. 10 Give generously to them and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the LORD your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to. 11 There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your fellow Israelites who are poor and needy in your land.

The New International Version. (2011). (Dt 15:1–12). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

Here the Lord shows the Israelites that they should have the same gracious spirit as he does. The Lord wants people to be cheerful givers when it comes to helping the poor. Notice he says they are not to be tightfisted or hardhearted towards those in need. Fallen man makes foolish decisions, can have things go wrong or he can be exploited by others, in all of these situations they are to provide help. This provision of the Lord for cancelling debt runs contrary to the exploitation of those in debt we see in contemporary society. Just imagine if Wonga or one of those other exploitative companies were to start forgiving debts instead of charging outrageous interest rates how that would transform the lives of so many people. If this would happen many people would be freed from unjust loan repayments where the interest amounts to more than the original loan. Such things are highly offensive to a God who is just and loving.

When people got into debt in Ancient Israel, they became slaves but this is not in the modern sense of the term, they had to be treated with dignity and it was for a limited time period after which they were set free with abundant provision for starting their debt free life.

12 If any of your people—Hebrew men or women—sell themselves to you and serve you six years, in the seventh year you must let them go free. 13 And when you release them, do not send them away empty-handed. 14 Supply them liberally from your flock, your threshing floor and your winepress. Give to them as the LORD your God has blessed you. 15 Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and the LORD your God redeemed you. That is why I give you this command today.
16 But if your servant says to you, “I do not want to leave you,” because he loves you and your family and is well off with you, 17 then take an awl and push it through his earlobe into the door, and he will become your servant for life. Do the same for your female servant.
18 Do not consider it a hardship to set your servant free, because their service to you these six years has been worth twice as much as that of a hired hand. And the LORD your God will bless you in everything you do.

The New International Version. (2011). (Dt 15:12–19). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

The Lord here is very clear about the generosity of heart that is required of those setting their Hebrew slaves free, this runs contrary to the normal inclination and action of the fallen human being, this relationship is to demonstrate something of the Character of Israel’s God who is a God of holy love and he expects his people to demonstrate that love to one another. This type of action can only come from the hearts of those who know what it is to rejoice before the Lord and therefore we come full circle to our starting point. This whole discourse calls us to demonstrate something of the wonder of God’s grace to a broken and needy world, will we heed the call of God to rejoice in him and be gracious to others?

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Praying For Our Nation

Wherever we live, we are called to pray for our nation this is not an optional extra, sometimes however circumstances highlight the need for this. Across the wWorld at the moment, nations are in turmoil, other nations are having elections and referendums while still others live under authoritarian and totalitarian regimes and yet the Word of God calls us all to pray for our nation. Paul says to Timothy,

I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people—2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time.

The New International Version. (2011). (1 Ti 2:1–7). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

This is one of the clearest instructions in Scripture that we need to pray for those in authority and if we had only this one command  we would have to face the fact that God call us to pray for those in authority over us. What is helpful about this passage is that it gives a gospel reason to pray for those in authority over us. Here is a seamless link between the gospel and social concern. But it is not good enough to know we have to pray but we must also look at some of the attitudes and motives that underlie this command.

We need a God Centred approach. When the Lord Jesus taught his disciples to pray, he showed them that God was to be honoured over all others and we are to seek his kingdom, We need to think about the significance of these familiar words,

‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
10 your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
The New International Version. (2011). (Mt 6:9–10). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

All true  prayer starts with a reverence for God, we must see that he ios the Lord of all, the almighty one and at the same time he is our loving heavenly Father. Having seen something of his greatness we will want to seek His kingdom and therefore want to see His will done here on earth as it is in heaven. It is easy when we are praying for our nation to start with our agenda, or even our political ideology, instead of this we need to seek god both in prayer and in his word. What does God want should be our big question? It is very easy when opinion is divided in the Church about a matter to get into debates rather than seeking God and his will.

We need to be a people marked by humility. When Solomon prayed to the Lord at the dedication of the temple the Lord answered him using these well-known words,

if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land

The New International Version. (2011). (2 Ch 7:14). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

The people of God are called to humble themselves and we can see how Daniel does that as he prays for the nation of Israel,

7 “Lord, you are righteous, but this day we are covered with shame—the people of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem and all Israel, both near and far, in all the countries where you have scattered us because of our unfaithfulness to you. 8 We and our kings, our princes and our ancestors are covered with shame, LORD, because we have sinned against you. 9 The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him; 10 we have not obeyed the LORD our God or kept the laws he gave us through his servants the prophets. 11 All Israel has transgressed your law and turned away, refusing to obey you.
“Therefore the curses and sworn judgments written in the Law of Moses, the servant of God, have been poured out on us, because we have sinned against you. 12 You have fulfilled the words spoken against us and against our rulers by bringing on us great disaster. Under the whole heaven nothing has ever been done like what has been done to Jerusalem. 13 Just as it is written in the Law of Moses, all this disaster has come on us, yet we have not sought the favor of the LORD our God by turning from our sins and giving attention to your truth. 14 The LORD did not hesitate to bring the disaster on us, for the LORD our God is righteous in everything he does; yet we have not obeyed him.
15 “Now, Lord our God, who brought your people out of Egypt with a mighty hand and who made for yourself a name that endures to this day, we have sinned, we have done wrong. 16 Lord, in keeping with all your righteous acts, turn away your anger and your wrath from Jerusalem, your city, your holy hill. Our sins and the iniquities of our ancestors have made Jerusalem and your people an object of scorn to all those around us.
17 “Now, our God, hear the prayers and petitions of your servant. For your sake, Lord, look with favor on your desolate sanctuary. 18 Give ear, our God, and hear; open your eyes and see the desolation of the city that bears your Name. We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy. 19 Lord, listen! Lord, forgive! Lord, hear and act! For your sake, my God, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your Name.”

The New International Version. (2011). (Da 9:7–20). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

Daniel identifies with his people, he does not think of himself as superior, the Scripture tells us that Daniel was a righteous man but he identifies with his people. Notice also that he acknowledges the justice of God in his dealings with his people. But Daniel is also aware and very conscious of the covenant promises of God and his nature as a merciful God.  We know from chapter 10 that Daniel had an unexpected revelation of the glory of God, he uses words almost identical to those in the Book of Revelation chapter 1. Daniel says,

5 I looked up and there before me was a man dressed in linen, with a belt of fine gold from Uphaz around his waist. 6 His body was like topaz, his face like lightning, his eyes like flaming torches, his arms and legs like the gleam of burnished bronze, and his voice like the sound of a multitude.
7 I, Daniel, was the only one who saw the vision; those who were with me did not see it, but such terror overwhelmed them that they fled and hid themselves. 8 So I was left alone, gazing at this great vision; I had no strength left, my face turned deathly pale and I was helpless. 9 Then I heard him speaking, and as I listened to him, I fell into a deep sleep, my face to the ground.
The New International Version. (2011). (Da 10:5–9). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

We too need a revelation of the Glory of God, he comes at times in His holy glory and reveals more of himself and we need that so we need to come to him in a Spirit of humble dependency realising that he is the Sovereign Lord.

So Let us seek God in prayer for our nations and for those who rule over us as God commands us to do and may we do so in ways that Honour our God, with true humility of heart and with the expectation that he will hear and answer our prayers.

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