Today's Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.”
Psalm 51: 5
King James Version
“Why Did God Love David?” Part VI
“There is nothing in man (or woman) by nature apart from God, which is not vile and deceitful. In me (that is, in my flesh) dwells no good thing.
“If there be anything good in my nature, if I have been transformed by the renewing of my mind, if I am regenerate, if I have passed from death unto life, if I have been taken out of the family of Satan, and adopted into the family of God’s dear Son, and if I am now no more an heir of wrath, but a child of heaven, then all these things are of God, and in no sense, and in no degree whatever are they of myself.”
C. H. Spurgeon
Have I ever felt discouraged by the faults in my life and believed that all my attempts at improving myself were hopeless?
What does it mean to me to know, with certainty, I have a Saviour?
“Of our own we have nothing but sin.”
Augustine of Hippo
“Not only the worst of my sins, but the best of my duties speak me a child of Adam.”
Several days ago, there was a special report on the news about an area in Iraq where it is surmised that the Garden of Eden may have been originally located. This region, which was once covered with lush marsh fields, and quite surprisingly, was also filled with water, might seem out-of-place in a portion of the globe known for dry deserts.
I was fascinated by the reporter’s description of this land, which visually was completely changed from the word-picture we find in the book of Genesis in the Bible: “And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there He put the man (Adam) whom He had formed. And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads…And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the Garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it” (Genesis 2:8-15).
How I wish I could have had a glimpse of the garden paradise called Eden, don’t you? The Biblical description of such unparalleled beauty is what led me initially to come up with the idea for Transformation Garden – and it is what served as the catalyst for my dear artist friend, Betty Carr, who uses her immense talent to continue to visually bring the garden alive through her paintings for our garden site and bookmarks.
As my mind flies back to a time when the Bible tells us “perfection” reigned on earth, I long, like I know you do too, for that flawless life in Eden’s grandeur, where the blot of sin had not fouled Adam and Eve’s home – a place created by their Maker…for their ultimate happiness.
In Genesis 3, just a few verses after an incredible portrayal of Eden is presented, we are told the shame-filled story of choices that defiled and destroyed. Sadly, after this catastrophic tragedy, when two perfect beings, Adam and Eve, decided they wanted to be like God and get to know, not only good, but evil too, men and women ever since have been believing the deceiver’s lies. Even our ability to choose to do right would have been completely wiped out if not for our Father’s ultimate gift – the gift of His own Son, our Saviour, or as David, himself, penned in II Samuel 22: 3: “The God of my rock; in Him will I trust: He is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my saviour.” I love how the Hebrew translation of the word “saviour” reads in this particular text: “To be open wide, to free, to be safe and bringing salvation.” If we look at the word “salvation,” which is also in this text, we find its broader and clearer meaning to be “liberty and deliverance.” What David was telling us in II Samuel 22 is that God broke the lock and released the prisoners. Now, with this great news, let’s go back to our text for today which is Psalm 51:5, “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.” Honestly, this text is downrightly depressing. David told God that he came out of his mother evil…right into an evil world! Frankly, this information is enough to make a person say, “Don’t let me be conceived or born. I don’t want to end up in an evil, sinful mess.” But thank God, David understood that while he was born into a vile world, filled with the toxin of sin, he had a Saviour. Someone who broke the lock on all the evil in our lives. Someone who set the prisoners of iniquity at liberty. And David knew this long before Jesus ever came to earth. David knew his “Saviour” because he knew his Father. No wonder God loved David, for when David found himself bound by the chains of lust, lying and murder, he went to his Saviour where he found safety and deliverance.
In the New Testament book of Hebrews there is a special chapter, often referred to as the “faith chapter” – Hebrews 11. This chapter begins with these words: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11: 1, K.J.V.). This text helps to identify two groups of individuals down through Bible history. The first were people in the Old Testament, who like David hoped for the “substance” or as the Greek defines: has confidence and assurance in a person they haven’t met but were told of by their heavenly Father. This person was the Saviour that David based his faith and his confidence on. But there’s also another group of individuals. And guess what, you and I fall into this category – this group of people as Hebrews 11:1 tells us, believes or has faith in, “the evidence of things not seen.” Here the Greek word for “evidence” means conviction. And conviction means, “surety, earnestness and fervor.” What is special about this second group of people is that they have not seen, with their own eyes, their Saviour. Unlike Peter, James and John who walked with Jesus, unlike the women who kept company with their Lord and were the first to witness His empty tomb; and even unlike the “doubter” Thomas who said, “Except I shall see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into His side, I will not believe (John 20: 25), these individuals have believed and planted their faith in their Saviour based on evidence which convicted their hearts and left them with an unquenchable fervor and an unshakeable surety in their Saviour.
It is these two groups of people, those who looked forward to the promise their Father gave them and those who cling to the promise given but unseen, which God’s Word honors for their faith. No wonder God loved David, and no wonder He loves you and me. Believers who trust our Father’s Word, despite our failings and foul-ups. We still know and believe our Saviour loves us.
In 1776, a young man named Augustus Toplady wrote the words to a hymn, now recognized as one of the “best known, best loved, and most widely useful” hymns in the English language. This hymn, called Rock of Ages, is a reflection of the Rock of Refuge that David wrote about throughout his life. In the second verse, the words which are penned so touchingly describe the Saviour in whom David had faith and the Saviour, you and I trust:
“Could my tears forever flow?
Could my zeal no respite know?
These for sin could not atone;
Thou must save, and Thou alone.”
“This salvation of love did not spring from us, because we did not know, neither were we able to love God unto salvation, but because He the Creator and Lord of all so loved the world, that He sent His Son for its salvation, the Prince and Saviour of the faithful, who washed and dried our wounds, and from Him also came that most sweet medicine, from which all the good things of salvation flow.”
Hildegard of Bingen
“Thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!”
I Corinthians 15: 57
Good News Bible
“Although I am dust and ashes, Lord, I am tied to You by bonds of love. Therefore I feel I can speak freely to You. Before I came to know You, I was nothing. I did not know the meaning of life, and I had no understanding of myself. I have no doubt that You had a purpose in causing me to be born; yet You had no need of me, and on my own I was no use to You. But then You decided that I should hear the words of Your Son, Jesus Christ. And that as I heard His words, You enabled His love to penetrate my heart. Now I am completely saturated in His love and faith, and there is no remedy. Now, Lord, I cannot change my attitude to my faith; I can only die for it.
Hilary of Poiters
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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