Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Are we ready to get honest with the Lord?

Isaiah 1:18 “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.”

Sins as scarlet? They shall be white as snow.

Are they red as crimson? They shall be as wool.

How? Where? When?

When? “Come now”… is always the day to seek the Lord….about anything.

Where? Before the Lord…..not running away from His presence….but come before Him.

How? Let us……reason together….this is not one-sided, but the Lord and us……

….we give Him our reasons for thinking this way….and He will speak, and give us the reason for His Will.

The Example:

A godly man,….Asaph was a appointed a singer in the Temple….he loved the Lord, and his job of teaching others the songs of praise….

…yet he told of a temptation….which nearly wreaked his spiritual life….

Psalm 73:2-3 “But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well-nigh slipped.

For I was envious of the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.”

Here he testifies of his spiritual battle over God allowing wicked men to not only be prosperous…..but to seemingly go on, without restraint.

Asaph had looked out on the world, and judged according to it’s judgement…for to be wealthy in the world, gives you standing, gives you success, gives you influence….which they often abused…(although they are often, not happy within, yet they appear to be so)….

….and Asaph? What do the poor, or afflicted righteous have?

When we start doubting God’s righteousness, then our steps begin to waver.

When our eyes gaze too long at the world’s view of things….our understanding becomes confused…..our affections become disoriented…..

…..we do not want to be wicked…..but….

(You will notice….my steps were “almost gone”….how gracious God is….to hold us….He will allow trials, for they strengthen our faith….

……but temptations are another matter….they come from our lusts, or desires within (James 1:12-14)…

…and we must cooperate with the Lord to defeat them…to put them to death….

….it is how quickly we do that….that tells of the victory….and Asaph came close to a terrible fall.)

Here is what Asaph sees when he looks upon the prosperous wicked…

…and he is, becoming weak in faith, because of this…

Psalm 73:4-5, 11-12 “For there are no bands in their death. But their strength is firm.

They are not in trouble as other men, neither are they plagued like other men.

And they say, How doth God know? And is there knowledge in the Most High?

Behold, these are the ungodly, which prosper in the world, they increase in riches.”

They sin, yet their conscience does not bother them….perhaps covering them with small acts of religion….they act like, if there is a God….He does not see or care….

They become hardened….untouched by the spiritual truths they often hear.

(But God does see…..and He often lets them alone…for they are to have horrors hereafter…so he lets them have the trinkets here.)

But Asaph is troubled….here is a stumbling block for his faith….he sees these men….and their sin….yet nothing seems to happen to them.

He saw their present, and forgot their eternity…..saw their outward show, and not their foolishness….yet.

He cries within himself:

Psalm 73:13-14 “Verily (Truly) I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocency.

For all the day long have I been plagued, and chastened every morning.”

Asaph is a godly man….for he sees he is a sinner….and it troubles him.

In reverence,…he seeks forgiveness and cleansing from them….daily.

Why does this not happen to the wicked?

It seems as if things are turned upside down.

He wants to speak of his thoughts to someone….but is afraid of giving someone else his doubts…

… he bridles his tongue (he is a wise man James 3:2)…

….and he goes in to speak to God…finally.

Psalm 73:17-18 “Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end.

Surely Thou didst set them in slippery places: Thou castedst them down into destruction.”

As men refuse the gospel message, their hearts and minds become more and more blind….their conscience seared.

God may indeed let them rise high….so their fall is more evident.

God may let them have all they can here….because eternity awaits….and the “blackness of darkness forever” (Jude 12-13) will be their end.

When God holds judgement….He gives time….time to repent….

But when God comes forth in justice and judgement….the pride and wealth of this earth will vanish…and then the soul….and what it did about God’s claims will only remain.

As soon as he sees this….Asaph is restored in faith….God judges righteously…in HIs time.

Psalm 73:21-23 “Thus my heart was grieved, and I was pricked in my reins.

So foolish was I, and ignorant: I was as a beast before Thee.

Nevertheless I am continually with Thee: Thou hast holden me by my right hand.”

Asaph realizes his folly….he had acted foolishly….

(a fool is one who does not consider that God sees, rules, and overrules in the everyday affairs of men.

As a poet once said, “A fool is he who through this life, pursues a cloud he can not own….and leaves a wealth of things undone, his tomb a finally stepping stone.)

….Asaph had acted like he did not know God at all…..his mind had started to be embittered….

But….once he sees….he repents….and praises.

He realizes that God has kept him from falling completely……

“My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.” (Verse 26)

….”my portion for ever.”

We need not envy the prosperous wicked….or the worldling.

For God is my portion for ever.

How much are we seeking our True Portion?….which abides from now and forever.

Are we ready to get honest with God?

It is as we come before Him, and “reason with Him”….that we are truly cleansed from the envy of the wicked….and value our portion in God, as we should.

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