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My soul, wait silently for God alone, for my expectation is from Him.

He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be moved.

In God is my salvation and my glory; the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God. Psalm 62:5-7

I love this. My own struggles reflected in the psalmist’s description. The psalmist says, “my soul, wait.” He is instructing his soul. He is saying to himself, “don’t become anxious, just wait. God will come through.” He confirms that all that he wants or needs is found in the one true and living God, Y-H-W-H.

Our soul is the entirety of our being–mind, heart, and emotions. I hold nothing back–leave no thought to flutter away to other concerns. Every ounce of my being is focused on, expecting Him–His glory and majesty, His provision, His protection, who He is and what He has done. The Psalmist confirms this when he says, “He only . . .” (Emphasis added.)

The Psalms says, I wait “for God alone.” This single-minded devotion is a natural out-flow of the command in Deuteronomy 6:5 (the Shema) to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.” The Psalmist is modeling for us the life lived under the yoke of heaven.

I confess with the Psalmist, I have no other Gods before Him. He is my heart’s one desire. Worshiping God is what I was made for, but it is also what I most enjoy.

And so I wait as the Psalmist waited. In the waiting, God comes. After He comes, I wait enveloped in His presence. His Shekinah glory lights me up!

I wait silently. As Solomon said, “God is in heaven, and you on earth; Therefore let your words be few.” In the silence, I am filled with expectation–hope. Hope for provision, hope for protection, hope for healing, hope for renewal, hope for revival, hope for the future here and with Him–the endless eternal with God.

The Psalmist gives voice to his expectation in verses 6 and 7. Speaking of Adonai, he says, “He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense . . . In God is my salvation and my glory; the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God.”

God is my rock–unlike sand or soil, He doesn’t shift or move. He is reliable. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. He is my rock of strength–a place where no enemy can reach me. He is my hiding place. In Psalm 27:5, the Psalmist tells us “in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion; in the secret place of His tabernacle He shall hide me; He shall set me high upon a rock.”

My experiential knowledge (not mere book knowledge) of God’s character as my rock and my strength–allows me to say with the Psalmist–“I will not be moved. I will not be shaken.”

 

It is our desire to help you grow in your knowledge of God and His Word. If you are looking for additional information and/or materials, please visit our website at RootedinHisWord.org and our Facebook page. 

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Jeremiah chapter 2 lays out the causes of an unfortunately all-to-familiar phenomenon in the life of a God-follower: Falling away. In modern church-speak it may be called apostasy or drifting. Those who fall away lose their taste for the things of God, His Word, His presence, and His people. They are often lacking self-awareness and personal accountability for their conduct. They may seek to blame others for their failures and for their own apostasy.

To “fall away” is really a misnomer. Falling suggests lack of control or choice. Make no mistake, falling away is a choice–a series of little, seemingly inconsequential choices. It may be simple things. For example, Psalm 1:1-3 outlines warns against bad company. Moses warned them about the choices in the wilderness, “I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; that you may love the Lord your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days; and that you may dwell in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them.” (Deuteronomy 30:19-20)

In Jeremiah chapter 2, we are given additional valuable insight into why Israel had fallen away from God, and how He viewed their apostasy.

Falling Away Occurs where there is Ungratefulness

Neither did they say, ‘Where is the Lord, Who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, Who led us through the wilderness, through a land of deserts and pits, through a land of drought and the shadow of death, through a land that no one crossed and where no one dwelt?’ I brought you into a bountiful country, to eat its fruit and its goodness. But when you entered, you defiled My land And made My heritage an abomination. Jeremiah 2:6-7 (NKJV)

God notes that His people either disregarded or forgotten all that God had done or them in bringing them out of Egypt and caring for them the forty years in the wilderness. They have so disregarded what He had given them as to defile it by their worship of idols and other related abominations. He accuses them of being ungrateful for His provision of the land of Israel with its bounty. This ungratefulness has contributed to their falling away.

Falling Away Occurs under Poor Leadership

The priests did not say, ‘Where is the Lord?’ And those who handle the law did not know Me; the rulers also transgressed against Me; the prophets prophesied by Baal, and walked after things that do not profit. Jeremiah 2:8 (NKJV)

God, through the prophet, describes the situation where the priests, those responsible to teach and guide the people in spiritual things, did not have a relationship with Him. He goes on to say those entrusted with political leadership sinned against His law, and finally, the prophets, who were to speak the word of the Lord to the people, failed and turned to idols. The Israelites didn’t have elections to choose their leaders as we do today in state and federal government, but they did have the ability to speak out against corrupt and ungodly leadership, especially in the house of God. Leaders can be wrong and misleading. It may be intentional or a drifting away from the truth. We must be diligent to always test what is being said from the pulpit or the lectern against the absolute truth of God’s Word.

Falling Away means forsaking God for false Gods and Self-reliance

“Has a nation changed its gods, which are not gods? But My people have changed their Glory for what does not profit. Be astonished, O heavens, at this, and be horribly afraid; be very desolate,” says the Lord. “For My people have committed two evils: they have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, And hewn themselves cisterns—broken cisterns that can hold no water.” Jeremiah 2:11-13 (NKJV)

This passage is so sad. God counts apostasy as a two-fold offense. First Israel rejects the true and living God, who has been faithful to them–who has given life and sustained life as the fountain of living water. Instead of living water, they choose polluted water, the kind that comes from broken cisterns which cannot even hold the rain water but allow it to be defiled by mixing with the dirt around it. Non-potable, unuseable, unable to sustain life. It is a choice to die, and God says as much through the prophet Jeremiah.

Self-reliance and self-confidence are two enemies of the believer today. It is easy to build up your personal strength rather than your reliance on God. It is a subtle difference, but one which can lead to less trust in God and more on one’s own abilities and resources. Life comes from living water. The living water comes from God–He is the source of living water–the water that brings with it life. We need to come to that fountain and forsake the broken cisterns of our own making.

Falling Away occurs where there is Resistance to God’s Correction

“Why will you plead with Me? You all have transgressed against Me,” says the Lord. “In vain I have chastened your children; they received no correction. Your sword has devoured your prophets like a destroying lion.” Jeremiah 2:29-30 (NKJV)

Correction is an essential part of being a child of God. It speaks of a close and ongoing relationship between each of us and God. We know we are loved because He corrects and teaches us. Moreover, one who receives correction is wise. (Proverbs 15:5) When we refuse God’s correction and ignore His discipline, we become distanced from Him and apostasy consequence.

Throughout the writings of the Major and Minor Prophets, God warns Israel about apostasy and falling away from Him. He gives them opportunities to come back and be restored to relationship with Him, but in the end, judgment falls in Israel and they go into captivity because they fail and refuse to return to God. May we learn the lessons taught in the pages of the Hebrew Bible. God is not mocked. What a man sows, that will he reap.

Let us consider ourselves: the company we keep, the hardness of our hearts, our resistance to God’s correction, the weakness of the leaders we follow, and the tendency in our hearts towards self-reliance. Be warned that such attitudes and conduct lead to a falling away from God. Beloved, choose life! Return to your first love.

 

It is our desire to help you grow in your knowledge of God and His Word. If you are looking for additional information and/or materials, please visit our website at RootedinHisWord.org and our Facebook page. 

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I have been crucified with Christ [that is, in Him I have shared His crucifixion]; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body I live by faith [by adhering to, relying on, and completely trusting] in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. Galatians 2:20 Amplified

Why is it important to be crucified with Christ? What does it mean? This verse is familiar to many and often quoted as a means to remind ourselves of our true identity as believers in Yeshua.

If I am crucified with Christ, I share my identity with Christ. I am saying, “What Christ is–I am too.” By identifying with Christ in this way, I am saying to the world that I want to be treated as Christ was–not given any special treatment or benefits not given to Him. It means that I must share in Christ’s suffering including His rejection by His society, His peers. I must not seek to be approved by the world or its religious systems–rather I must seek only the approval of Adonai as Yeshua was approved by Him. (See Matthew 3:17, Matthew 17:5)

Without entering into His sacrificial death, I have no way to approach God. By entering into His crucifixion, I join myself to Christ–accepting His sacrifice for me–essentially making it my sacrificial offering to God for my sin–past, present and future. As a result, I can enter into the presence of the Holy One, Adonai, blessed be His name.

In 2 Corinthians 5:21, we are told, He made Christ who knew no sin to [judicially] be sin on our behalf, so that in Him we would become the righteousness of God [that is, we would be made acceptable to Him and placed in a right relationship with Him by His gracious loving kindness]. (Amplified)

This verse presents the real reason to enter into His crucifixion–either He died to deliver you and me, or He didn’t. Once I have identified with Christ–it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. (Galatians 5:20)

The reality is that when I am crucified with Christ, identifying with His crucifixion and sacrificial death, I am acknowledging certain truths about God and about myself (as part of the human race):

1. Adonai (the God of the Hebrew Bible, of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob) exists;

2. Adonai is holy and unapproachable by sinful man, or said another way, sinful man apart from shed blood cannot approach a holy God).

3. The Christ (Jesus of Nazareth), is also God. While he lived as a man, He provided a perfect (complete) sacrifice, acceptable to God for the payment for the sin of mankind–past, present and future.

4. I acknowledge that I am a sinner by Adonai’s holy and reasonable (just) standard;

5. I need and want this sacrifice of Yeshua, made on a Roman cross on a hill in a rock quarry outside the walls of the Jerusalem 2000+ years ago, to be applied to my life, my sins;

6. I accept the lordship of Adonai over my life now and for eternity. (Pictured here is the piercing of the ear of the slave who agrees to stay with his master by choice–I am the bond servant of Christ.)

That is how I die and Christ lives in me.

I live by faith [by adhering to, relying on, and completely trusting] in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. Galatians 2:20 (Amplified)

How will I know I have made this commitment–allowed these truths to bind me to Adonai? It think it will be the distinctive of love that marks my life. Yeshua said this, By this everyone will know that you are My disciples, if you have love and unselfish concern for one another. John 13:35 (Amplified)

Beloved, as we enter this season of preparation for our remembrance of Resurrection Sunday, let us consider what it means for each of us to be crucified with Christ, and let us live as witnesses of the truth of the risen Christ, with clean hands and pure hearts, awaiting Christ’s soon return.

It is our desire to help you grow in your knowledge of God and His Word. If you are looking for additional information and/or materials, please visit our website at RootedinHisWord.org and our Facebook page. 

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But as for me, I am like a green olive tree in the house of God; I trust [confidently] in the lovingkindness of God forever and ever. Psalm 52:8 (Amplified)

How am I like a green olive tree in the house of God?

I am well-watered by the Word of God which washes over me daily as I study the scriptures. I am planted in the fertile soil–plenty of manure has fallen all around me over the years making the soil rich. I live in the glory of the Son which shines perpetually on me. And because olive trees grow wild if not properly tended, Adonai, the gardener, regularly prunes me for better growth and production.

I don’t strive to grow or worry about my leaves being green enough or when the rain will fall or how my branches will be trimmed–I confidently trust in the lovingkindness of my God, my Abba–forever and ever. I am His and He has never forsaken the righteous.

 

Branches of an Olive Tree on the Mount of Olives, Jerusalem

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I will give you treasures hoarded in the dark, secret riches hidden away,
so that you will know that I, Adonai, calling you by your name, am the God of Isra’el.
Isaiah 45:3 (Complete Jewish Bible)

This scripture is a reminder that there are times of intimacy with God that can only be understood and received in times of darkness, times of deep testing, seasons of isolation, seasons of sorrow. Times when the enemy seems to be getting the upper hand.

In such times, the believer may slip into what seems to be impenetrable darkness only to eventually discovery they are in a well-lit cave of treasures with Adonai–the King of Heaven. In these one-on-one times with the Adonai, it is possible to enjoy a closeness and intimacy with God. These can be times of great refreshing in the middle of a storm or trial when the believe is hidden in a cloak of darkness with the Light of the World.

So when the time of crushing is upon you and you feel darkness descend, consider Adonai may be leading you to a secret, hoarded treasure of His presence and the secret places of fellowship with the lover of your soul.

 

If you are looking for Bible study resources or other materials, visit our website at RootedinHisWord.org and our Facebook page. 

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My soul, wait silently for God alone,
For my expectation is from Him.

He only is my rock and my salvation;
He is my defense;
I shall not be moved.

In God is my salvation and my glory;
The rock of my strength,
And my refuge, is in God.

Psalm 62:5-7

I love this. I see myself in the psalmist’s description of himself. I wait before God–Adonai Eloheinu–the King of the Universe. I bring everything–all of me–and I wait. The psalmist says, “my soul waits.” The soul speaks of the entire being–mind, heart, emotions. I hold nothing back–leave no thought to flutter away to other concerns. Every ounce of my being is focused on His glory and majesty–who He is and what He has done. It is a natural out-flow of the command in Deuteronomy 6:5 (the Shema) to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.”

I wait only for God–“for God alone.” I have no other Gods before Him. He is my heart’s one desire.

In the waiting, God comes. So I wait in His presence.

I wait silently. As Solomon said, “God is in heaven, and you on earth; Therefore let your words be few.” In the silence, I am filled with expectation–hope.

The Psalmist explains the expectation in verses 6 and 7: “He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense . . . In God is my salvation and my glory; the rock of my strength,
and my refuge, is in God.” Several truths about God are embedded in these two short verses.

God is my rock–unlike sand or soil, He doesn’t shift or move. He is reliable. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. He is my rock of strength–a place where no enemy can reach me. He is a hiding place. In Psalm 27:5, the Psalmist tells us “in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion; in the secret place of His tabernacle He shall hide me; He shall set me high upon a rock.” The imagery is similar to this section of Psalm 62.

God’s presence–His character as my rock and my strength–allows me to say with the Psalmist–“I will not be moved. I will not be shaken.”

 

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The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid? Psalm 27:1.

Even the psalmist acknowledges the presence of darkness in his life. To expect that in our life with God we will never encounter darkness is naive and foolish. Darkness is the human condition made worse by pride and self-righteousness. (See Romans 1) The psalmist also acknowledges that fear accompanies darkness like a one-two punch.

But God . . . God is light. It is the very essence of who He is. He has control over light–and consequently, darkness. After all, He spoke light into existence. (See Genesis 1:3)

The beauty of light is that it doesn’t compete with darkness rather light banishes darkness. Darkness must flee when light comes. Although often considered opposites, light is so much more powerful than darkness.

That being said, it is important to remember that God is the original source of light. He brings light into me, His vessel, and fills me with it. His light in me represents the work of salvation in me and everyone who is born again. (See John 3:16-21) God entered the dark abyss of my God-less soul and banished the darkness that had been there by bringing the light of His presence. His light–His very essence–dwells within me.

For You cause my lamp to be lighted and to shine; The Lord my God illumines my darkness. Psalm 18:28.

Fear not, Beloved, God is your light and your salvation. He will not allow the darkness to overtake you. Stand fast.

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When the hymn-writer wrote those words, ‘When peace like a river attendeth my soul, when sorrows like sea billows roll, whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say, “It is well, it is well with my soul,’  he described the reality of the alternating of peace and turbulence in the life of a believer.   More peace and less turbulence is my goal.  But how does one “get” peace?

The Bible gives some important answers to this question.  First of all, Jesus said in John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you.”  So on the one hand, peace has been given to us by Jesus through the Holy Spirit.

Although we have been given peace, we need to live in the place of peace.  To that end, the Bible also teaches us to pursue peace.  The Psalmist in Psalm 34:14 says to “depart from evil and do good; Seek peace and pursue it.”  Romans 12:18 tells us, “if it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.”   Romans 14:19 tells us to “pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another.”   Hebrews 12:14 says, “pursue peace with all people.” (emphasis added)   These verses speak of a lifestyle that we, as believers, need to seek after.  We need to put some effort into peace-making and peace-keeping.  We need to not be the ones engaging in peace-taking.

The better news is found in the book of Isaiah where the prophet says of God in Isaiah 26:3, “You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You.”  The reality is that when our minds are focused on God, God keeps us in the peace He promised us.

May the peace of God descend upon your heart today.  May you pursue peace as much as you are able.

If you are looking for additional information and/or materials, please visit our website at RootedinHisWord.org and our Facebook page. 

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Wait for and confidently expect the Lord;
Be strong and let your heart take courage;
Yes, wait for and confidently expect the Lord.
Psalm 27:14 (Amplified)

The Amplified version brings out some interesting nuances of this text. First of all, we see that it is not merely waiting that is required. Rather it is waiting for someone in particular, namely the Lord. Moreover, the waiting is not passive as one might wait for a bus or a train, but this is waiting with accompanying expectation–confident expectation in the Lord and what He will do. We can have this confident expectation because of the promises that God has made to us in His Word. Promises like . . . “I will never leave or forsake you,” “I provide a way of escape from temptation,” “I will deliver you,” “I’ll come back for you,” and many others. We are instructed by the psalmist to expect the Lord to do what He has promised to do as we wait for Him to do so.

We are told to “be strong.” The strength the psalmist has in mind is mental strength. This strength speaks of choice. We are to choose to believe God and His Word. We are to choose to allow the Spirit of God to reign in our hearts and minds. As the Spirit fills us, we will experience the resulting fruit of the Spirit, namely patience, long-suffering and self-control.

Once we choose to go God’s way, He will flood our hearts with courage–courage we know could never be our own. Once we are strengthened by this courage, we are able to wait. God is still and always in charge.

In this verse, the first phrase and the last phrase are the same; bookends that reinforce the beginning and the end of the matter–wait on the Lord. It’s worth repeating.

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I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
Romans 12:1-2

In a previous blog post, (The Sacrifice), we discussed the first part of this section–the sacrifice. The second verse goes on to give further direction in terms of how to be that living sacrifice–“do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed.”

What would it look like to be conformed to this world? I think of the difference between a thermometer and a thermostat. A thermometer merely measures the temperature–in fact is conforms by either rising or contracting to reflect the temperature. It does nothing to change the temperature. In contract, the thermostat when reflecting the temperature is dropping, kicks the heater into gear. It impacts the temperature. That is what it means to not be conformed to the world–but rather to be a force for transformation.

How we should view the world is described in different parts of scripture. One helpful passage is 1 John 2:15-17 where we are told, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.” For these and many other reasons found in scripture, we should not be conformed to the world.

This passage tells us some important facts about the world including what it consists of, namely “the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.” Also we learn that the world is passing away–it is temporary unlike God who “abides forever.”

How does one not be conformed by the world–it is all around us? James offers some suggestions: endure temptation (James 1:12), be doers of the word and not hearers only (James 1:22), seek wisdom from above (James 3:17), and do not be friends with the world (James 4:4). In Ephesians we are told to do all to stand in the battle. To that end, we are exhorted to put on the full armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18). These are not the only means to the end of non-conformity to the world, but rather they are a starting point. The Bible is meant to be studied and read over and over until the Word of God penetrates our hearts and minds and we become restored to the image of God inside and out.

The renewing of our minds occurs when we live and breathe God and His Word. We see a picture of this renewed mind in Philippians 2:2-5, “[be] like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.” Philippians 2:2-5 Unity is evidence that our minds are being renewed. It is one way we “prove the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

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