Each week we LIVESTREAM the Lord's Day Sabbath School at 10a, Lord's Day morning public worship at 11a, and Lord's Day p.m. singing (3p) and sermon (3:45), and the Midweek Sermon and Prayer Meeting at 6:30p on Wednesday

Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Respecting God and His Word in Responding to God's Man [Family Worship lesson in 2Kings 1]

Who is God’s man with God’s power, the king or the prophet? 2Kings 1 looks forward to the first serial reading in morning public worship on the coming Lord’s Day. In these eighteen verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that in the battle between Israel’s traitorous throne and God’s faithful Word, the prophet was the man of God in whom was invested the power of God.
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2022.08.31 Hopewell @Home ▫ 2 Kings 1

Read 2 Kings 1

Questions from the Scripture text: Who rebelled against whom in 2 Kings 1:1? After what? Now what happens to Ahab’s son in 2 Kings 1:2? Whom does he send to whom to ask what in verse 2? But Who speaks to whom in 2 Kings 1:3? Whom is Elijah to go meet? What is he to ask them? What answer does Who give to Ahaziah’s question (2 Kings 1:4)? Who asks what, when the messengers are back too soon to have been to Ekron (2 Kings 1:5)? What do the messengers report (2 Kings 1:6)? What does Ahaziah ask in 2 Kings 1:7? How do they answer (2 Kings 1:8)? What does the king conclude? What sort of group does the king then send in 2 Kings 1:9? What does the captain call Elijah? What does he command Elijah to do? How does Elijah answer (2 Kings 1:10)? What happens to the captain and his fifty men? How does the king respond to this (2 Kings 1:11)? What does the second captain call Elijah? What does he command Elijah? How does Elijah answer (2 Kings 1:12)? What happens to the captain and his fifty? How does the king now respond (2 Kings 1:13)? What does this captain call Elijah? What doesn’t he do that the other captains did? What request does he make instead? How does he explain this request in 2 Kings 1:14? Who speaks to whom in 2 Kings 1:15? What does He tell Elijah to do? What does He tell Elijah not to do? With whom does Elijah go where? In Whose behalf does Elijah speak in verse 2 Kings 1:16? For what offense is Ahaziah being punished? What is the punishment? What happens in 2 Kings 1:17? Who becomes king (cf. 2 Kings 3:1) and why? What was recorded elsewhere instead of in holy Scripture (2 Kings 1:18)?

Who is God’s man with God’s power, the king or the prophet? 2 Kings 1 looks forward to the first serial reading in morning public worship on the coming Lord’s Day. In these eighteen verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that in the battle between Israel’s traitorous throne and God’s faithful Word, the prophet was the man of God in whom was invested the power of God. 

2 Kings 1:1 seems like a toss-away, an historical anecdote to let us know perhaps where we are in the chronology. But it is more than that. The chapter begins with the death of Ahab, as prophesied by Elijah (and two others), and it ends (2 Kings 1:17-18) with the death of Ahaziah, as prophesied by Elijah. Good riddance to bad rubbish; and, bless the Name of God Who would eventually come as the Word made flesh in order to be King for Himself for His people!

The repetition helps us see the main teaching of the chapter: “If I am a man of God, then let fire come down…” and it did (2 Kings 1:102 Kings 1:12)! Elijah is the man of God. And Yahweh is the one true God. His Word is faithful and always true.

But Ahaziah is treacherous and traitorous, not true. He sends to Baal-Zebub to know if he will survive falling out of his window (2 Kings 1:2). A Baal-god from one of the cities of the now almost-defunct Philistines? What does he know, or what can he do? Any God but Yahweh is a figment of the imagination. If an Ekronite had a problem, it should be he who realizes that Baal-Zebub is a farce, and sends to inquire of Yahweh instead. But here it has been the other way around. So Yahweh asks, “is it because there is no God in Israel…?” (2 Kings 1:32 Kings 1:62 Kings 1:16). Let us consider well how the Lord considers it treachery to look for hope apart from Him!

Of course, Ahaziah knew the answer. He could tell from the outfit (2 Kings 1:8) that the answer that he would die (2 Kings 1:6) had come from the prophet of Yahweh. Like father (cf. 1 Kings 22:81 Kings 22:161 Kings 22:18), like son, he just doesn’t like the prophet or his God. 

So, Ahaziah sends not a messenger but a military force to summon Elijah. But God’s Word in the mouth of God’s prophet is its own military force (cf. 2 Kings 2:12). Elijah declares that Word as his own defense, and God answers with fire from heaven (2 Kings 2:102 Kings 2:12). When our authority commands us to oppose the Lord, our responsibility is to refuse the command. Ahaziah commanded those captains to their death, and they should have disobeyed. Those captains commanded those fifty to their death, and they should have disobeyed.

But Yahweh is the sort of commander Who defends and avenges the lives of His people. He defends Elijah throughout the chapter, and we see a small picture of this in the third captain. He both disobeys Ahaziah’s orders and intervenes in behalf of his own men, asking that their lives be precious (2 Kings 2:13). Let all lesser magistrates/authorities conduct themselves like this.

Eventually, the Word Himself would become a Man in order to be the forever-King. He is His own defense and His people’s defense. Their lives are precious in His sight, and He defends and avenges them. How blessed to be the servants of King Jesus!

In what situation do you need knowledge/hope? From where alone can it ultimately come? What means does He use to give it, and how are you tempted to look for it apart from Him? Where has He given you His words? Who is your King? What has He done for you? What can you be sure He will do for you?

Sample prayer:  Lord, You alone are God. Don’t let us be like Ahaziah and look for answers apart from You. Make us to be confident in the power of Your Word and to hate and fear ever to oppose You. Forgive us for how easily our hearts do the very things for which You executed Ahaziah. Thank You for giving us Christ to be both our Prophet and King, as well as our Sacrifice Who has borne the fire of wrath that we deserve. In His Name, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP72A “God, Give Your Judgments to the King” or TPH72B “O God, Your Judgments Give the King”

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Getting God Right: No Power Over, Apart from, or in Addition to God [2022.08.28 Evening Sermon in Exodus 22:18–20]


There is no power by which one may manipulate God, no power from what God has made except what God Himself gives by the right use of it, and no power in addition to God. It is a mortal offense to act as if there is.

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King Jesus, the anti-Herod: a King of Perfect Goodness, Power, and Justice [2022.08.28 Morning Sermon in Acts 12:1–24]


King Jesus is good and makes His people good; delivers His people in perfect power and goodness, and avenges Himself and His people in perfect justice and wrath.

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Biblical Theology of the Diaconate 1: Introduction to the Course [2022.08.28 Sabbath School]

Introduction to the Hopewell ARP course on the biblical theology of the diaconate.
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Theology Simply Explained — WSC50 What the Second Commandment Requires

Pastor walks his children through Westminster Shorter Catechism question 50: What is required in the second commandment? The second commandment requireth the receiving, observing, and keeping pure and entire, all such religious worship and ordinances as God hath appointed in His Word.
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Learning from Other Creatures to Rejoice in the Creator [Family Worship lesson in Psalm 65:8–13]

In what ways does the almighty and redeeming God of vv1–7, display His great goodness and our expected response? Psalm 65:8–13 looks forward to the opening portion of morning public worship on the coming Lord’s Day. In these six verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that in His care of creation, and use of it to provide for us, the Lord displays not only the exceeding abundance of His goodness, but a picture of how we should repeatedly and constantly rejoice over that goodness.
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2022.08.30 Hopewell @Home ▫ Psalm 65:8–13

Read Psalm 65:8–13

Questions from the Scripture text: Where do the people in Psalm 65:8a dwell? Of what are they afraid? Which signs in particular (verse 8b)? What are these “outgoings” doing? What does Yahweh visit, with what blessing, and what results in Psalm 65:9a,b,c? What does God do in verse 9d? Why (verse 9e)? Who is being described as doing what in Psalm 65:10? With what does God crown the year in Psalm 65:11a? And what drips with abundance in verse 11b? What does this dropping (Psalm 65:12a) make the little hills to do (verse 12b)? What two blessed things in Psalm 65:13a,b do what two things in verse 13c? 

In what ways does the almighty and redeeming God of Psalm 65:1-7, display His great goodness and our expected response? Psalm 65:8–13 looks forward to the opening portion of morning public worship on the coming Lord’s Day. In these six verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that in His care of creation, and use of it to provide for us, the Lord displays not only the exceeding abundance of His goodness, but a picture of how we should repeatedly and constantly rejoice over that goodness.

Before the greatness of God’s almighty power, man would do well to consider that he is but dust. No wonder that those who dwell in the farthest parts of the earth are afraid of the sun and moon and stars and other comparatively glorious creations of God (Psalm 65:8a)!

But they are creations of God. As Psalm 19:4–6 so poignantly teaches, the sun’s apparent march through the sky is designed to teach us to rejoice in whatever God gives us to do (Psalm 65:8b). Are we not also creations of God? We too, ought to rejoice, though we are but dust.

For, God is a God Who is merciful even to dust! Psalm 65:9-11 gush (literally!) with rich poetry about the generous, kind, skillful attention and provision that the Lord lavishes upon the dirt. And that’s not even dirt into which He breathed the breath of life (cf. Genesis 2:7) to form it into His image (cf. Genesis 1:26–27). The year is not just crowned with creation’s produce, but with God’s goodness.

As we sing of the tender, abundant, detailed, persistent, lavish goodness of God to the inanimate dirt in these verses, a marvelous “how much more” argument should swell in our hearts. If His care of His creation is like this for other creatures, how much more it must be for us whom He made in His image!

So, we ought to respond like the little hills, pastures, and valleys (Psalm 65:12-13). He has made them beautiful, and He has made their produce in flock and grain to be the very picture of rejoicing. Every year, we should see springtime and harvest time as examples to us of how we should rejoice before God from our hearts. O, let us always see His goodness in the great acts of redemption, but let us not fail to see it also in every little care and provision for His creation!

What beauties of creation have you stopped to behold lately? What were they telling you about the Lord? How were they modeling for you to respond to the Lord? What is the greatest display that He has made of this generosity and care?

Sample prayer:  Lord, You have created all things, and they exist for Your glory. You are so good to all Your creatures! You visit the earth and water it richly and abundantly. You crown the year with Your goodness. As You have made us Your creations Who receive the greatest goodness, so also make us the greatest rejoicers among all Your creatures as we shout for joy and sing Your praises, which we ask through Christ, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP65B “The Far and Distant Peoples Fear” or TPH65C “Praise Waits for Thee in Zion”

Monday, August 29, 2022

The Justness of God to Condemn Those Who Would Excuse Sin [Family Worship lesson in Romans 3:5–8]

If doing wickedly glorifies God by affirming His evaluation of us, why shouldn’t we just do wickedly? In these four verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that people who think God’s glory in condemning us is a good reason to keep sinning just show how righteous God’s condemnation of them really is.
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2022.08.29 Hopewell @Home ▫ Romans 3:5–8

Read Romans 3:5–8

Questions from the Scripture text: What do we have (Romans 3:5)? What does it demonstrate? What two questions does the apostle ask? What qualifier does he make for asking something so irreverent? How does he answer again (Romans 3:6, cf. Romans 3:4)? What question does he ask to prove it? What increases through what in Romans 3:7? Unto what end result? What question does a sinner then ask about this? What else do they ask (Romans 3:8)? What were they suggesting that this doctrine incentivizes them to do? Whom were they reporting and affirming spoke like this? What verdict does the apostle declare about them?

If doing wickedly glorifies God by affirming His evaluation of us, why shouldn’t we just do wickedly? In these four verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that people who think God’s glory in condemning us is a good reason to keep sinning just show how righteous God’s condemnation of them really is. 

God is righteous to inflict wrath, Romans 3:5–6. It belongs to the extreme wickedness of man that we think that God should be grateful for how glorious we make Him look. Behind the first question in Romans 3:5 is the idea that it was my unrighteousness that made God look righteous. This is utterly preposterous and irreverent, for God is righteous in Himself, and whatever our response to Him would demonstrate His righteousness—precisely because He is righteous.

Still, in our flesh, there is this horrible idea that somehow we have made Him look righteous. And even worse, there is a wicked judging of God Himself (!) to call Him unjust for pouring out His holy fury upon sinners who are doing Him such a “favor.” Indeed, it would be unjust of Him if He did not pour out His holy fury upon every sin!

This, He has done already at the cross. This, He will do again when He judges the cosmos (Romans 3:6). And won’t this demonstrate His righteousness then? And will it be wrong for Him to pour out that fury at that time? No, God is righteous to inflict His wrath!

God is righteous to judge as sinners those whose lies display His truthRomans 3:7. Now, Romans 3:7 applies this to the situation in Romans 3:1-4. Whenever a circumcised sinner failed to believe, he showed the need for the circumcision of his heart. Whenever a baptized sinner fails to believe, he shows the need for regeneration by the Spirit and the washing away of sin by union with Christ that the Spirit gives us through faith. So, all of those who have been members of God’s people (whether the commonwealth of Israel, Ephesians 2:12; or the household of God, Ephesians 2:19) and still perish end up giving the lie to their membership, while showing the truth of the sign that was put upon them for that membership. All of this the apostle described in Romans 3:4 as God being true but man the liar.

Now, that same unconverted member is speaking in Romans 3:7 as demonstrated by the word “my” in “my lie.” And he is judging God (!) for judging him as a sinner (!!). As long as there have been covenant signs, there have been either those who think that only the regenerate should receive them, or those who think that everyone who receives them is regenerated. But the signs themselves are designed to tell the truth of God that this is not the case. And the apostle here plainly condemns the one who thinks that his sinfulness is excused by the fact that his baptism says that he is a sinner.

Too often, the author of this devotional has heard the logic that we should not be so offended by sin, since our baptisms (or the gospel affirmed by our baptisms) remind us that even everyone in the church sins. God forbid! If thinking this way about circumcision and the need for God to cut away our fleshly hearts was condemned, how much more must we condemn the use of baptism to “normalize” sin! For in baptism, God affirms that only union with Christ, by Spirit-given faith, can deliver from sin’s penalty, power, and presence. If this is what God says about my sin, then I must HATE being a sinner, not excuse it!

God is righteous to condemn all who justify sin, and especially those who use the gospel to do soRomans 3:8. Finally, in verse 8, there are those who go even beyond excusing sin by the gospel. These promote sin by the gospel: “let us do evil that good may come.” We should not be surprised that the response of an unregenerate sinner to the gospel of free grace is to take it as an encouragement to sin. But the wicked project such ideas onto others, and these projected it onto the apostle himself. Those who are in love with sin and accuse the gospel for their wicked love are justly condemned!

When are you tempted to feel like your sin is ok? What does God think of it? What should you think of it?

Sample prayer:  Lord, we praise Your holiness and justness for Your hatred of sin. Forgive us for being so sinful that we would take Your glory, Your sign, or Your gospel as an excuse for sin. Truly, You would be righteous to condemn us. So be merciful instead, through Christ, and forgive us for His sake, AMEN!

Saturday, August 27, 2022

Jesus, the God-King of Perfect Goodness, Power, and Justice [Family Worship lesson in Acts 12:1–24]

Who is the real King, in real control? Acts 12:1–24 looks forward to the morning sermon on the coming Lord’s Day. In these twenty-four verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that the Lord Jesus rules and overrules all things as God and King, for the spread of His Word.
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2022.08.27 Hopewell @Home ▫ Acts 12:1–24

Read Acts 12:1–24

Questions from the Scripture text: Who did what at this time (Acts 12:1)? What did he do to whom, how, in Acts 12:2? What did he see (Acts 12:3)? So what else did he do? When? Where did he put him (Acts 12:4)? To whom did he deliver him? What did he intend? Who else was doing what for Peter (Acts 12:5)? To Whom? What was Herod about to do in Acts 12:6? What was Peter doing? With whom and where? Who did what in Acts 12:7? What else appeared? What did the angel do to Peter? What did he say? What happened? What sorts of instructions does the angel give him in Acts 12:8? Where does Peter go in Acts 12:9? What doesn’t he know? What did he think? Where have they passed in Acts 12:10? To what do they come? What does it do? Where do they go? Then what does the angel do? What happens to Peter in Acts 12:11? What does he conclude has happened? From what has the Lord delivered him? To where does he come in Acts 12:12? What was going on there? What does Peter do in Acts 12:13? Who answers? What does she recognize (Acts 12:14)? What doesn’t she do? Why? What does she do instead? How do the prayer participants respond (Acts 12:15)? To what do they change their mind when she won’t budge? What is Peter still doing (Acts 12:16)? How do those who were praying for him respond to his deliverance? What does he do/say in Acts 12:17? Whom does he tell them to tell? What does he do? What time of day is it in Acts 12:18? What happens? Who looks for him in Acts 12:19? With what result? What does he do then? And where does he go? How have things been recently between him and the people just north of this city (Acts 12:20)? What do they do? Whom have they enlisted? For what do they ask? Why? Who does what, when, in Acts 12:21? What do the people keep doing (Acts 12:22)? Who does what in Acts 12:23? Why? What happens to him first? Second? But what happens to what in Acts 12:24?

Who is the real God, in real control? Acts 12:1–24 looks forward to the morning sermon on the coming Lord’s Day. In these twenty-four verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that the Lord Jesus rules and overrules all things as God, for the spread of His Word. 

How much we who pray to God need to know the sovereign rule and almighty power of the God to Whom we pray!

The Jews manipulate Herod by the pressure of what pleases them (Acts 12:3, end of Acts 12:11). Herod ruthlessly lords it over the local military (Acts 12:19) and economy (end of Acts 12:20). The people of Tyre and Sidon manipulate Herod by politics (middle of verse 20) and flattery (Acts 12:22). But it is God Who is in control.

This should be great comfort for the Zebedee family (Acts 12:2). If Herod executes James, it is not because the Lord could not have delivered him as He did Peter. It is in the same loving purpose and sovereign rule.

But Peter himself doesn’t even consider that the Lord could/would do this. To be sure, he is comfortable suffering for the Lord. The angel has to work hard just to rouse him out of his sound sleep on what was to be his final night alive (Acts 12:7). And the groggy apostle has to be told to put his shoes and cloak on (Acts 12:8). He still thinks it’s a vision until the angel disappears, and he’s standing out in the open street (Acts 12:11). And of course, the very people who are praying—ostensibly because they think that God could and would do something—are quite persistent in refusing to believe that their prayer has been answered (Acts 12:15) and then still astonished when they are proven wrong (Acts 12:16).

But it is the Lord Jesus Who is God. It is the Lord whom Peter knows to have sent the angel to deliver him in Acts 12:11. And it is the Lord Whom Peter says to tell James (the brother of the Lord! cf. Galatians 1:19) has brought him out of prison (Acts 12:17) by that angel. Yet, when those who are not God get glory, they are deserving of things like maggots beginning to eat them from the inside out even before they expire (end of Acts 12:23). 

The Lord Jesus is God Who rules all things. Arrogant tyrants expire (verse 23), but Jesus’s divine Word grows and multiplies (Acts 12:24). He is the One in Whom we should trust. He is the One to Whom we should believingly and expectantly pray. And He is the One to Whom we must give all the glory!

Why do unbelievers need to know and accept that Jesus is God? Why do you need to remember that Jesus is God? How are you (or should you be) responding to Him as God? 

Sample prayer:  Lord Jesus, deliver us or do with us whatever is necessary to show Your divine glory. Make Your Word to grow and multiply, and grant that we would always pray to You and give you glory, we ask in Your own almighty Name, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP110B “The LORD Has Spoken to My Lord” or TPH270 “At the Name of Jesus” 

Friday, August 26, 2022

God’s True Sign, Despite Reprobate Church Members [2022.08.24 Midweek Sermon in Romans 3:1–4]


For the one who never comes to faith, God’s sign is still true, even as He rightly judges such a man as false. Some foolishly say that if the ones who have received the membership and its sign are not saved, then God has somehow fallen short, or His choice is somehow overruled by man’s. The apostle will deal with such folly at greater length in chapter 9. But here, he has shown that the advantages were real, which made the Jews’ ongoing need of saving grace all the more evident. ALL have sinned.

(click here to DOWNLOAD video/mp3/pdf files of this sermon)

How Israel's Death Penalty for False Religion Instructs Our Hearts for Our Everyday Life [Family Worship lesson in Exodus 22:18–20]

How did God’s civil law for Israel highlight how abominable idolatry is? Exodus 22:18–20 looks forward to the evening sermon on the coming Lord’s Day. In these three verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that idolatry is not only abominable in itself but leads to other abominations that are uniquely detestable to the LORD.
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2022.08.26 Hopewell @Home ▫ Exodus 22:18–20

Read Exodus 22:18–20

Questions from the Scripture text: What must not be done with a sorceress (Exodus 22:18)? Who else must be put to death (Exodus 22:19)? Who must be utterly destroyed (Exodus 22:20)?  

How did God’s civil law for Israel highlight how abominable idolatry is? Exodus 22:18–20 looks forward to the evening sermon on the coming Lord’s Day. In these three verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that idolatry is not only abominable in itself but leads to other abominations that are uniquely detestable to the LORD. 

No power greater than YahwehExodus 22:18. The word ‘sorceress’ here is a feminine, singular form of the word used for the “magicians” of Egypt in Exodus 7:16. Ancient near eastern religions held to a “deep magic” to which even the gods were subject, and which could be used to manipulate them. Permitting such wicked practitioners in Israel would have been to put Yahweh in the same class. For this reason, the penalty prescribed here and in Exodus 22:20 are put in phrases used when something is devoted to death or destruction in order to vindicate the honor or righteousness of God (cf. Deuteronomy 20:16). 

While there are some who believe in things like luck or other magic that can overwrite providence, even believers can be susceptible to trying to manipulate God. Israel would even attempt to use “seeking God” and fasting as ways to force God to do what they wanted (cf. Isaiah 58:3–4). Saul’s own rebellion for the supposed purpose of religion was characterized by Samuel “as the sin of witchcraft” in 1 Samuel 15:22–23.

No power from perversionExodus 22:19. While the placement of verse 19 may seem disjointed, ancient near-eastern studies help us to see the connection. This immoral abomination was thought to be a way to gain benefits of life and power associated with the various beasts. Idolatry quickly descends into sexual immorality, because it displaces man as made in the image of God and marriage as for producing image-bearers. 

The idolatry of humanism has been no different in its defacing of the image of God and multiplication of perversions. In addition to such perversions, the idea of ascribing divinity to animals and obtaining divine power from them is imported from many pagan religions into various activities that many around us unthinkingly participate in.

No power from any other godExodus 22:20. The word ‘sacrifice’ in this verse is a more general word than the one for burnt offering. It can even be used just of an animal slaughtered for a communal meal. Yahweh demands complete exclusivity. We must not give to any other that dependence, devotion, or delight which belongs to the LORD alone.

What means has the Lord given us to be helped by Him? To serve Him? To enjoy Him? How offensive is it when we look for power, purpose, or pleasure in another way?

Sample prayer: Lord, You are the one, true and living God. Forgive us for our idolatries and cleanse us from them, so that we will depend upon, be devoted to, and delight in You alone, for we ask it in Your Name, Lord Jesus, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP24 “The Earth and the Riches” or TPH174 “The Ten Commandments 

Thursday, August 25, 2022

Apostolic Recipe for Reformation: Christ's Called Men Teaching Christ's Word to Produce Christ's Love in Christ's People [Family Worship lesson in 1Timothy 1:3–7]

What did Paul leave Timothy behind in Ephesus to do? 1Timothy 1:3–7 looks forward to the second serial reading in morning public worship on the coming Lord’s Day. In these five verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that churches urgently need called men to teach right doctrine that results in right living.
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2022.08.25 Hopewell @Home ▫ 1 Timothy 1:3–7

Read 1 Timothy 1:3–7

Questions from the Scripture text: Where had Paul gone (1 Timothy 1:3)? What did he leave Timothy behind to do? What were they to teach? To what two things weren’t they to give heed (1 Timothy 1:4)? What do these things cause? What don’t these things cause? Of what does 1 Timothy 1:5 tell us the purpose? From what three sources does this love issue? But what did some do (1 Timothy 1:6)? To what did they turn aside instead? Out of what desire did they do this (1 Timothy 1:7)? What two things didn’t they understand? 

What did Paul leave Timothy behind in Ephesus to do? 1 Timothy 1:3–7 looks forward to the second serial reading in morning public worship on the coming Lord’s Day. In these five verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that churches urgently need called men to teach right doctrine that results in right living.

The right men1 Timothy 1:31 Timothy 1:7 Not everyone who has an idea should get to say it in church. In fact, many desire to be teachers (verse 7a), but they don’t even understand their own words (verse 7b), let alone how off their theology is (verse 7c). So, in his apostolic authority, Paul had left Timothy behind with instructions to, among other things, recognize and appoint the other teachers whom Christ Himself was calling to the ministry (cf. 1 Timothy 2:12–3:7). 

The right doctrine1 Timothy 1:3-4. The right men need to teach the right doctrine, which is to say “no other doctrine” than that apostolic doctrine that is recorded for us in Scripture. One favorite mode of teaching for those who wish to appoint themselves is just to teach “clever” ways they have come to think about theological or spiritual things. Another favorite is to “give heed to fables,” adopting men’s ideas that have gained the appearance of weightiness by being passed down in the church. A third mode of false teaching is to take more difficult passages of Scripture (like genealogies) and endlessly teach those instead of the plainer passages of Scripture that teach us how to understand the more difficult.

Unsurprisingly, all three modes of false teaching produce disputes. Their talk is idle/useless (1 Timothy 1:6), but they are not without effect. They stray from that gospel upon which all true believers can agree, and thus fail to build the church up in God. But this “godly edification” is exactly what grows out of faith. When believers are actually growing in understanding, approving, and being shaped by the truth of God’s Word, the result is not disputes but the building up of the household of God.

Resulting in right living1 Timothy 1:5-6. The word translated ‘commandment’ here refers more to instruction/urging than the one in 1 Timothy 1:1, which indicates authoritative injunction. It’s referring to the urging of 1 Timothy 1:3. Why is it so necessary that the right men teach the right doctrine? To produce right living—which we might also call right loving. The Lord brings us to love Him with all the heart, our brothers as He loved us, and our neighbors as ourselves. And He does so by the mechanism described in 1 Timothy 1:5

The Lord uses right teaching to make the heart pure/good/sincere. It is His own Word that He promises to write on our hearts (cf. Hebrews 8:10, Hebrews 10:16). And it is His own Word that has the power to do this (cf. Psalm 19:7–8). The idle talk of man has neither this promise nor this power.

The Lord uses right teaching to make our conscience good. A bad conscience approves the wrong things. A good conscience approves the right things. It is the renewing of our minds that transforms us so that we can prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God (cf. Romans 12:2). It gives us a good conscience.

The Lord uses right teaching to give us sincere (un-pretended) faith. It’s one thing to try to appear to others to be confident, or even to try to stir up a feeling of confidence within ourselves, but such faith is “pretended.” It is merely put on. True faith is being convinced of what God says, even if it’s not visible or hasn’t happened yet (cf. Hebrews 11:1). And it is the Word of God itself that produces this faith (cf. Romans 10:14–17).

How does God give that love for Himself and others by which He builds up His church? He uses the proclamation of His Word. To have other men teach other things produces the disputes of men where the Word of God has been given to do the work of God.

Why must you be careful not to appoint yourself a teacher or follow self-appointed teachers? What kind of teaching should we expect from those whom Christ has truly appointed? What should you be seeking to have produced in yourself by sitting under such preaching and teaching?

Sample prayer:  Lord, forgive us for wanting others to hear our opinions about theology, Scripture, or spiritual things. Forgive us for when we follow the traditions of men, or make big mistakes from lesser-understood passages. Grant unto us men like Timothy, and those whom he was to ordain, to teach us Your Word. And, use that teaching to work in our hearts and minds. Produce in us that love for Yourself, brother, and neighbor by which You build Your church up in Yourself, which we ask in Your Name, Lord Jesus, AMEN!

 Suggested songs: ARP19B “The Lord’s Most Perfect Law” or TPH19B “The Heavens Above Declare”

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

How Desperately We Need Jesus Himself to Be King in His Perfect Righteousness and Life-Giving Power [Family Worship lesson in 1Kings 22:41–53]

What harm can a little compromise from a good king do? 1Kings 22:41–53 looks forward to the first serial reading in morning public worship on the coming Lord’s Day. In these thirteen verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that only Jesus can be the King of promise, because even godly kings whose folly or sin is a small fraction of their royal acts may do great damage to the people entrusted to them.
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2022.08.24 Hopewell @Home ▫ 1 Kings 22:41–53

Read 1 Kings 22:41–53

Questions from the Scripture text: Who became king, where, when (1 Kings 22:41)? How old was he (1 Kings 22:42)? How long did he reign? Where? Who else’s name and family does verse 42 give? In what ways did he walk (1 Kings 22:43)? What did he not do? What did he do? With what exception in the behavior of the people? And what exception in the acts of the king (1 Kings 22:44, cf. 2 Chronicles 18:1)? What acts were not important enough to the biblical account to be detailed here (1 Kings 22:45)? What moral action does 1 Kings 22:46 highlight? And what comparison to what nation does 1 Kings 22:47 highlight? What had he tried to do, but what happened (1 Kings 22:48)? How does 1 Kings 22:49 show that he learned his lesson from 1 Kings 22:44? What happened to him upon his death (1 Kings 22:50)? And what happened with his body? Which of these fathers’ identity reminds us of the blessedness of resting with his fathers? Who reigned in his place? Who became king in 1 Kings 22:51? Over whom? Where? When? For how long? What did he do (1 Kings 22:52)? In the ways of which three people did he walk? What had Jeroboam son of Nebat done? What, especially does Ahaziah do in 1 Kings 22:53? Whom does this provoke? To what? According to what? 

What harm can a little compromise from a good king do? 1 Kings 22:41–53 looks forward to the first serial reading in morning public worship on the coming Lord’s Day. In these thirteen verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that only Jesus can be the King of promise, because even godly kings whose folly or sin is a small fraction of their royal acts may do great damage to the people entrusted to them. 

As we come to the end of 1Kings and prepare to transition into the Elisha material, we discover how little hope we can have in any of the descendants of David so far. Jehoshaphat seems like he’s off to a good start: son of Asa, walked in all his daddy’s ways (1 Kings 22:43) and then some (1 Kings 22:46), did what was right in the eyes of Yahweh. Praise God!

But then it starts to unravel. He may be a godly king over the people, but he lacked the ability to make the people godly. They still worshiped on the high places (1 Kings 22:43). Worse still, he “made peace with the king of Israel” (1 Kings 22:44). It’s so understated—it could even pass for a political compliment. Except that king with whom the peace was made was Ahab (verse 44), and the cost of that peace would be his son’s marriage to Ahab’s daughter Athaliah (cf. 2 Chronicles 18:1). If her name doesn’t set off alarm bells for you, stick with the study into 2 Kings, and that will be corrected.

Jehoshaphat may have realized his error by 1 Kings 22:48-49, when he refused further entanglement with the dynasty of Omri (Jezebel’s father), but it was too late. Jehoshaphat rests with his fathers in 1 Kings 22:50, but the damage to the nation is severe. There will be reformations in the south, but the truth is growing increasingly clear: no mere man can be the forever-King whom David had been promised in 2 Samuel 7!

As for the northern kingdom, the original sin of Jeroboam persists in Ahaziah, together with the family sins of Ahab and Jezebel. If the southern kingdom’s loss is beginning to appear inevitable, it is even more apparent that the northern kingdom was lost from its beginning. This all sets up for the dynamic that we will see in the next book: God persists patiently and faithfully with His wicked people by means of His Word in the mouth of His prophets. 

But it won’t be until the Word becomes flesh that we fully see that the Great Prophet of Deuteronomy 18:15 is the only One Who could have ever been the forever-King of 2 Samuel 7:13. So the end of 1 Kings 22 leaves us saying of His first coming what Revelation 22 leaves us saying of His second coming: Come, Lord Jesus!

Who is your King? How is He able to do for you what Jehoshaphat couldn’t do for the people? What effect does He have upon His bride? How well does He do in the eyes of the LORD? What effect does this have upon you?

Sample prayer:  Lord Jesus, You are King of Kings and Lord of Lords. We praise You that unlike Jehoshaphat, Your righteousness and wisdom are both perfect! And we thank You that unlike Jehoshaphat, You are able and willing to do away with Your people’s sin. Truly, we have provoked You to anger by doing according to the wisdom of our own hearts. We have walked in the sins of our fathers and mothers, and especially of our first father Adam, who made us to sin. So forgive us, we pray, and keep working in us by Your Spirit, that we may be conformed to Your image and adopted in Your Sonship, which we ask in Your Name, AMEN! 

Suggested songs: ARP72A “God, Give Your Judgments to the King” or TPH72B “O God, Your Judgments Give the King”

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Honoring the Betrothed Heart and the Marriage Bed [2022.08.21 Evening Sermon in Exodus 22:16–17]


God, Who forbids the marriage bed outside of the marriage covenant, warns His people off of the marriage heart outside of betrothal by making its common consequence costly.

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How the Lord Built and Sanctified One of the Greatest Churches Ever [2022.08.21 Morning Sermon in Acts 11:19–30]


The Spirit uses preaching, encouragement, and teaching to grace people to turn them to the Lord, continue them with the Lord, and conform them to the Lord.

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How Can I Benefit From My Baptism? (2 of 2) [2022.08.21 Sabbath School]

"How Can I Benefit From My Baptism" Part 2 of 2 in the RHB series, "Cultivating Biblical Godliness"
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Theology Simply Explained — WSC49 Which Is the Second Commandment?

Pastor walks his children through Westminster Shorter Catechism question 49: Which is the second commandment? The second commandment is, Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate Me; and showing mercy unto thousands of them that love Me, and keep My commandments.
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What Sort of God Jesus Is [Family Worship lesson in Psalm 65:1–7]

Who is Jesus? Psalm 65:1–7 looks forward to the opening portion of morning public worship on the coming Lord’s Day. In these seven verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that Jesus is the prayer-hearing, atoning, electing, regenerating, satisfying, saving, almighty God Who created the mountains and calms the seas.
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2022.08.23 Hopewell @Home ▫ Psalm 65:1–7

Read Psalm 65:1–7

Questions from the Scripture text: To whom was this Psalm entrusted (superscript)? Who penned it? Who classed it as a spiritual song? What awaits Whom (Psalm 65:1a)? Where? What kind of promise has been made about it (verse 1b)? How is God identified in Psalm 65:2a? Who will come to Him (verse 2b)? In what danger does David find himself (Psalm 65:3a)? What solution is there for this danger (verse 3b)? What is the condition of this atoned for man, and how did he come to be in it (Psalm 65:4a)? What does God do for the one that He chooses (verse 4b)? With what end result: what location (verse 4c, e), with what benefit from what provision (verse 4d)? How will God answer faith (Psalm 65:5a)? What does verse 5b call Him? Of whom is He the confidence (verse 5c–d)? What else has He done in strength (Psalm 65:6a)? To show what about Himself (verse 6b)? What else does He still/calm (Psalm 65:7a–b, cf. Matthew 8:27; Mark 4:41; Luke 8:25)? As a sign that He will still/calm what (Psalm 65:7c)?

Who is Jesus? Psalm 65:1–7 looks forward to the opening portion of morning public worship on the coming Lord’s Day. In these seven verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that Jesus is the prayer-hearing, atoning, electing, regenerating, satisfying, saving, almighty God Who created the mountains and calms the seas.

Something that struck great fear into the Psalm-singing disciples in Matthew 8:27, Mark 4:41, and Luke 8:25, was when Jesus calmed the storm. It was not just the sort of thing that creatures are unable to do; it was something that you were only supposed to be able to do if you had spoken the mountains into existence (Psalm 65:7a–b, cf. Psalm 65:6). When the Lord Jesus declares the Great Commission as the application of His heaven-and-earth authority, He is identifying Himself as the God of the nations referenced in Psalm 65:2Psalm 65:5Psalm 65:7. So this wonderful Psalm about what kind of a God is Elohim is properly/fully understood when we learn from it what kind of a God is the Lord Jesus Christ.

Jesus is a prayer-hearing GodPsalm 65:2. The practice of praying to saints is an abominable idolatry because offering prayer is an act of worship; and, hearing and answering prayer is an act of divinity. But Jesus is the Hearer and Answerer of prayer (Psalm 65:2, cf. Matthew 8:25).

Jesus is the atoning GodPsalm 65:3. Where can David get help against the iniquities that prevail against him? There is abundant help in Him Who atones not just for the sins of one man but for a people.

Jesus is the electing GodPsalm 65:4a. Why does a man end coming (Psalm 65:2b, Psalm 65:4b) to the Lord Jesus? Because Jesus first chose him (verse 4a).  

Jesus is the regenerating GodPsalm 65:4b. Not only does the Lord make men blessed by His choosing them, but their approaching Him (verse 4b) is not merely a result of foreordination but an action that the Lord Himself personally causes.

Jesus is the satisfying GodPsalm 65:4. Though the Lord does many things for the elect along the way, His election aims chiefly at their blessedness (verse 4a)—their being satisfied with His goodness in His house and holy presence forever (verse 4c–e).

Jesus is the saving GodPsalm 65:5. Here is one of His Names, “God of our salvation” (verse 5b). Any hope of anyone from anywhere for anything must be placed ultimately in Him (verse 5c–d). His actions are awesome—to be reverenced. And His actions are righteous. He saves!

Jesus is the almighty, Creator GodPsalm 65:6-7. He established mountains as monuments to His power. When the seas roar and crash against them, they appear majestic in their undisturbed strength. But ultimately, it is He Himself Who stills the noise of the seas, the noise of their waves.

The One Who stilled the waves is the One Who silences the tumult of the peoples (v7c). They may rage (cf. Psalm 2:1, Psalm 46:6a), but He silences them all as declaration that He Himself is God (cf. verse 46:6b, Psalm 65:10).

Psalm 65 is a Psalm of glorious praise unto the one, true God. And how the singing believers rejoice, when they realize that this great God is the One Who became a Man to die for us! It belongs to His people from all the nations to vow to praise Him in the assembly of Zion (Psalm 65:1b), and to be ready to give that praise when we assemble (verse 1a)?

Of the characteristics of the Lord Jesus in this Psalm, to which ones do you least frequently respond? Which ones most connect with where you are right now in life? What heart-habit have you developed? 

Sample prayer:  Lord Jesus, You Who calmed the waves are the God to Whom we have vowed the praise that now awaits You. To You, Who hear prayer, we have come to worship. You chose us and You caused us to come to You. Now, make us happy and satisfied with the goodness of Your house and Your holy temple, for we ask it in Your own Name, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP65A “Praise Awaits You, God” or TPH65C “Praise Waits for Thee in Zion” 

Monday, August 22, 2022

God’s Faithful Sign—Even upon Reprobate Church Members [Family Worship lesson in Romans 3:1–4]

If there are people who receive the covenant sign, but do not receive the thing signified, does this mean that there is no advantage or profit from it? In these four verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that Church members’ unbelief doesn’t negate the goodness of the gift of church membership and covenant sign or the goodness of the Giver of these good gifts.
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2022.08.22 Hopewell @Home ▫ Romans 3:1–4

Read Romans 3:1–4

Questions from the Scripture text: What question does Romans 3:1 ask about the outward Jew? About outward circumcision? What is the answer in Romans 3:2? What is the greatest advantage/profit that they had? What did some of them not do (Romans 3:3)? But what doesn’t this unbelief do (verse 3)? Who would be true even if every Jew (and church member) turned out to be a liar (Romans 3:4)? Whom would the Lord be justified in judging?

If there are people who receive the covenant sign, but do not receive the thing signified, does this mean that there is no advantage or profit from it? In these four verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that Church members’ unbelief doesn’t negate the goodness of the gift of church membership and covenant sign or the goodness of the Giver of these good gifts. 

Circumcision, the covenant sign, had real advantages (Romans 3:1–2). Jews who suddenly discovered that their membership among God’s people and receiving of God’s sign had to be matched by an inward reality in order to profit them (Romans 3:25–29) might have thought in rebellious reflex, “then it would have been better not to have been members at all, or have received the sign at all!” This idea is behind the question in Romans 3:1.

But the answer to the question directly repudiates their complaint. There is much advantage to membership and sign in every way! So, the apostle follows immediately with the chief advantage: “to them were committed the sayings of God.” Who would say that this is not an advantage? But being a member of God’s assembly means gathering to hear His Word. And as Jesus shows in tying His two commands together, water baptism on earth entitles us to be taught everything that He has commanded (cf. Matthew 28:19–20).

When physical circumcision is not matched by flesh circumcision, man is the liar, not God (Romans 3:3-4a). It’s probably an understatement to say of the circumcised that “some did not believe” (Romans 3:3). Sadly, even in this age of the outpouring of the Spirit, it’s difficult to conclude that it would be an understatement to say also of the baptized that “some did not believe.” But does this mean that God’s faithfulness, in God’s sign, is somehow without effect? 

It's a rhetorical question that expects the answer “no,” but such is our confusion over these things that the apostle answers it: “Certainly not!” The advantage of being a member of God’s assembly and a recipient of God’s sign is great, even if one is self-deceived about his spiritual state, or never comes to faith (cf. Hebrews 6:1–9). God is still true. It is that man who began as a liar, and remained as a liar. God displays to us what faith would receive, but we still must receive that faith entirely by grace! The “every man” in Romans 3:3 is stunning: even if every single church member ever were lost, the mercies of membership and sign would still be true mercies, and God Himself would still be true!

Even in the church, God gives salvation entirely by mercy, not obligation (Romans 3:4b). The point in the first part of verse 4 is supported by a quote from Psalm 51. Who had more membership/sign/promise advantages than David? And yet when he has committed such sin as would call his salvation into question, he comes humbly to God, admitting that if after all he had turned out to be lost, God would be righteous and just to condemn him to hell. How many times had David offered sacrifices that attested to the washing of the blood of Christ? And yet, he knew that we must not presumptuously think that we have been regenerated simply because we were sure that we were at the time when we participated in a covenant sign.

Yet, membership and sign encourage us to look to God for mercy, just as David did! Later in the same Psalm, he admits that without the Spirit-given heart-work (Psalm 51:6, Psalm 51:10, Psalm 51:17), the sacrifices are worthless (Psalm 51:16). But, when that work is in place, the Lord does delight in those sacrifices that assured of the perfection of the coming sacrifice of Christ (Psalm 51:19).

Whether for our children, or for ourselves, when we look to God to fulfill the reality of His signs, we do not do so presumptuously, but looking for mercy from a merciful God, as encouraged to do so because He has given us signs of that mercy.

What covenant membership and signs have you received from the Lord? What advantages do you get by them? To Whom do you look for the inward reality to which the outward signs point? By what means? What further advantage do the signs have for you, when the inward reality is in place?

Sample prayer:  Lord, thank You for giving us that membership and sign which have entitled us to being taught to observe all that You have commanded. Forgive us for when we are presumptuous and think that we can know that we are regenerated because we thought that we were when we participated in a covenant sign. But make us always to look to You for faith and repentance as undeserved mercies of Your grace, for which we ask through Christ, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP51A “God, Be Merciful to Me” or TPH51C “God, Be Merciful to Me”

Saturday, August 20, 2022

How Multitudes Were Converted to the Lord, Continued with the Lord, and Were Conformed to the Lord [Family Worship lesson in Acts 11:19–30]

What does Jesus use to build up His church on earth? Acts 11:19–30 looks forward to the morning sermon on the coming Lord’s Day. In these twelve verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that Jesus uses preaching, encouragement, and teaching to build His church.
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2022.08.20 Hopewell @Home ▫ Acts 11:19–30

Read Acts 11:19–30

Questions from the Scripture text: To whom does Acts 11:19 begin by referring? When were they scattered? Where did they go? What did they do? To whom? To which sort of Jews did they preach in Antioch (Acts 11:20)? What (Whom!) did they preach? What was with them (Acts 11:21)? With what result? Where did news of this go (Acts 11:22)? Whom did they send? What did he see when he came (Acts 11:23)? And what did he encourage them to do? What sort of man was he (Acts 11:24)? What was the outcome of his character and labors? Where does he go in Acts 11:25? To do what? Where did he bring Saul (Acts 11:26)? What did they assemble? For how long? To do what? With what result? What happened in these days (Acts 11:27)? What did a prophet show (Acts 11:28)? When did this happen? What did these well-taught disciples do (Acts 11:29)? How did each determine how much to send? To whom did they send it? By whose hands (Acts 11:30)?

What does Jesus use to build up His church on earth? Acts 11:19–30 looks forward to the morning sermon on the coming Lord’s Day. In these twelve verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that Jesus uses preaching, encouragement, and teaching to build His church.

Jesus uses preaching to build His churchActs 11:19–21. We could well have begun with persecution! But those who were scattered after the persecution went around preaching. We saw almost this exact statement in Acts 8:4. Now, we learn that they have gone not only throughout Judea and Samaria (cf. Acts 8:1), but are now spreading into North Africa and the Mediterranean. Those who had grown up in Hellenistic Jewish communities were preaching to the same, and they did so when they came to Antioch (Acts 11:20). 

The content of their preaching is familiar now: the Lord Jesus. We’ve seen several apostolic sermons in Acts, and the most recent is a good example. Peter’s sermon in Acts 10:34–43 was all about Who Jesus is, what He has done, what He is doing, and His coming glorious return.

Again, it is not the preaching by itself, but the Lord Who uses that preaching. “the hand of the Lord was with them” (Acts 11:21a). The result is that “a great number believed and turned to the Lord.” So the preaching of the Lord Jesus is used by the power of the Lord Jesus to turn people to the Lord Jesus.

Jesus uses encouragement to build His churchActs 10:22-24. When the church in Jerusalem hears about this large, new church in Antioch, they send Barnabas, the son of encouragement, to them (Acts 10:22). The apostles had given him this name for his selflessness, and he was a good candidate for this group, since he himself was from Cyprus (cf. Acts 4:36–37). 

When Barnabas sees the new congregation, he sees what Acts 11:19–21 taught us to see: the grace of God. We must resist the fleshly temptation to see our own works. One might have seen the zeal of those who traveled far, or the soundness of those who preached theologically correctly, or the repentance and faith of the great number who had done so. But Acts 10:23 sums this all up by saying that Barnabas saw the grace of God!

Seeing this, Barnabas was glad. How easily one warms to ministry when he is rejoicing over God’s working in it! Now Barnabas encourages them to live their faith from the inside out. This “encouraging” is more than just telling or even teaching. It is an urging and helping in which he does whatever he can to help make this a reality for them. 

He teaches them to start in the inside: setting forth or purposing their hearts. What an easy step to forget, but what a hard thing discipleship is without it! We must be in the habit of purposing our hearts, of intentionally inclining ourselves in and toward the will of Christ. And from a heart thus conditioned, we are to continue with the Lord. We don’t come to Him to remain as we are. We come to Him to continue with Him. 

As much as the conduct of his shepherding was used, Acts 10:24 implies that his character in the shepherding was just as essential. He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. He had made progress in killing what remained from his previous self. He was full of the Holy Spirit now. What remained was not from him but from Christ; it was Christ Who lived in him; the life he lived, he lived by faith in the Son of God Who loved him and gave Himself for him (cf. Galatians 2:20). 

Just as previously the preaching had resulted in “a great number” believing, so now by this pastoring “a great many people were added to the Lord.”

Jesus uses teaching to build His churchActs 10:25-30.  Now there was a problem, and not a bad one to have: so many people had been saved so quickly that there was a great need for teaching. Barnabas knew another Hellenistic Jewish convert who was perfect for the job! He had vouched for Saul back in Acts 9:27–28. Now he goes and gets him from Tarsus.

For a whole year, Barnabas and Saul gather the church for teaching. And what happens by this teaching? The disciples in Antioch become so full of the knowledge of Christ and so much like the character of Christ that they come to be called “Christ-folk”—Christians! 

And this Christlikeness would be borne out in the first opportunity they have to sacrifice their own interests for others, just as their Master had done. This great famine is “throughout all the world” (Acts 10:28), not regional. What they are giving up is what they will need for themselves. But their brothers in Judea will need it too, and they gladly lay it out.

Teaching is the way to true Christian living. And true teaching will form the behavior of a man, not just his ideas. Believers come to offer their bodies as living sacrifices through being transformed by the renewing of their minds (cf. Romans 12:1–2).

Here, then, are three of the great activities in the gospel ministry: preaching, encouraging (we might say “pastoring”), and teaching. These are what Christ uses to grow His people in number and in grace.

How are you making use of the preaching that the Lord Jesus has given you to have in His church? How are you making use of all of the helps from your elders, and from others, for setting forth your heart toward the Lord? How are you making use of all of the helps from your elders, and from others, for continuing with the Lord? How are you making use of all of the teaching that the Lord Jesus has given you to have in His church? What fruit do you hope to see in your life from all of these things?

Sample prayer:  Lord Jesus, we thank You that it is You Who are building up Your church through the men and the means that You have appointed. Please help our preachers to be diligent in their effort and sound in their message. Please help our pastors to rejoice over Your work, to address our need for religion that comes from the heart, and to be men of impeccable character and self-forgetful faith. Please give us thorough and careful teaching, together with our own attentiveness to that teaching. And, use it to make us more and more knowers of Christ and followers of Christ, which we ask in the Name of Christ, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP32B “Instruction I Will Give to You” or TPH175 “Your Law, O God, Is Our Delight” 

Friday, August 19, 2022

Taking the Marriage Heart and the Marriage Bed Seriously like God Does [Family Worship lesson in Exodus 22:16–17]

How did God’s civil law for Israel emphasize the importance of keeping the seventh commandment? Exodus 22:16–17 looks forward to the evening sermon on the coming Lord’s Day. In these two verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that God absolutely forbids sexual intercourse outside of marriage.
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2022.08.19 Hopewell @Home ▫ Exodus 22:16–17

Read Exodus 22:16–17

Questions from the Scripture text: What does the man in Exodus 22:16 begin by doing? To whom? What do they end up doing? What must he pay? As what must he receive her? What may the father still do (Exodus 22:17)? What shall the man do anyway? 

How did God’s civil law for Israel emphasize the importance of keeping the seventh commandment? Exodus 22:16–17 looks forward to the evening sermon on the coming Lord’s Day. In these two verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that God absolutely forbids sexual intercourse outside of marriage. 

The couple in question in these verses is “in love.” This is not a rape situation, in which the man would be executed (cf. Deuteronomy 22:25–27). And if one of them were even betrothed to another, it would be adultery punishable by death (cf. Deuteronomy 22:23–24).

No, the word translated “entices” means that he has persuaded or seduced her. She is a willing participant. Though it is gentler than they deserve that they do not die, the risk for both is great. 

First, they immediately lose all opportunity to consider or marry another. The best that they can hope for is that the father of the woman will be willing to give her in marriage. But the bride-price must still be paid, and now without preparation; no advantage is gained.

Second, it may be that the father refuses to give her. In this case, the man still loses the money. And now they have both lost all opportunity for marriage, as they are damaged goods and to marry one of them would be to commit adultery. 

In this second case, also, Israel is spared from having this man and woman propagating. If a child is born, he becomes a member not of the household of the man and the woman, but rather of her father and his wife. If no child is born, then neither of them will have children. Their lines will end with them. It is a death sentence, albeit not immediately carried out.

How seriously the Lord takes sexual purity! And yet very many in our society, and even in the churches are quite unserious about it. We have become lovers of death and the destruction of households, churches, and nations. Many who would oppose the lying together in the middle of Exodus 22:16 yet dabble in and even promote, among the unbetrothed, the romantic attachments from the beginning of the verse. They accommodate in the heart what God abominates in the action.

May God grant unto us repentance from this sin, and faith in Jesus Christ, Whose blood is rich enough to atone even for this! And from Him, may we then receive life and love for God that makes us to love true life as He Himself has designed it.

What are some ways that our culture shows that it does not take sexual purity seriously? What are some ways that believers indulge in the heart the same sort of romantic attachments among the unmarried that results in the sin committed in this passage?

Sample prayer: Lord, forgive us for whatever ways we are falling short in protecting purity of heart and body for marriage and the marriage bed. Grant unto us to honor the marriage bed and to value sexual purity as You do. And restore our nation and churches and families to a place where this is the rule, rather than the exception, we pray through Christ, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP51A “God, Be Merciful to Me” or TPH174 “The Ten Commandments

Thursday, August 18, 2022

The True Benefit of Covenant Membership and Sign [2022.08.17 Midweek Sermon in Romans 2:25–29]


The covenant sign and covenant membership were profitable, because they pointed to how a believer's salvation would come, would grow, and would finish. But for the one who never comes to faithGod's sign is still true, even as He rightly judges such a man as false.

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The Divine, Personal Foundation of Reformational Pastoral Ministry [Family Worship lesson in 1Timothy 1:1–2]

Who were Paul and Timothy to one another, and how does that factor into the reformational work needed at Ephesus? 1Timothy 1:1–2 looks forward to the second serial reading in morning public worship on the coming Lord’s Day. In these two verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that the apostolic foundation of reformational ministry takes us back to God Himself in Christ, because He is our God, He is our hope, He is our holiness, He is our help, and He is our happiness.
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2022.08.18 Hopewell @Home ▫ 1 Timothy 1:1–2

Read 1 Timothy 1:1–2

Questions from the Scripture text: Who wrote this letter (1 Timothy 1:1)? What office did he hold? Of Whom was he an apostle? By Whose commandment? What has He done? By what other Name do we know Him? What is He to us? To whom was this letter written (1 Timothy 1:2)? What does he call him? In what is he a true son? What three things does the apostle bless him with from Whom?  

Who were Paul and Timothy to one another, and how does that factor into the reformational work needed at Ephesus? 1 Timothy 1:1–2 looks forward to the second serial reading in morning public worship on the coming Lord’s Day. In these two verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that the apostolic foundation of reformational ministry takes us back to God Himself in Christ, because He is our God, He is our hope, He is our holiness, He is our help and happiness.

Christ is our God. His order/organization for the church isn’t just a suggestion or example but a “commandment.” Though the word ‘apostle’ means “sent one,” the office is very specific. Jesus called apostles in person and appeared to them after His resurrection (cf. 1 Corinthians 9:1; 1 Corinthians 15:7–8). 1 Timothy 1:1 refers to this, in Paul’s case, as the commandment of God.

This letter (and then Titus, and 2 Timothy) was written during Paul’s second Roman imprisonment, just before his death. We learn from the letter that the once great church in Ephesus has allowed false doctrine, unholy living, and disorderly church worship and operation to creep in. But the apostle has a commandment from his God, Savior, Lord, Prophet, Priest, and King: God our Savior and the Lord Jesus Christ. And this letter is the fulfillment of that ministry, filling out a few more of those things that had remained for Jesus to say before His death (cf. John 16:12–15).

Christ is our hope. The last word (in our English translation) of 1 Timothy 1:1 is such a needed one for Timothy! He is a comparatively young, perhaps timid man who is being charged with leading a fairly significant reformation in a church that has spiritually declined. He needs to know that Christ is his hope for his salvation, for his faithfulness, and for this work to bear fruit. This word ‘hope’ doesn’t mean a wish that is in doubt; in the New Testament, it means some future good that has been assured. Let every believer know that Jesus is such a hope for his life, and let every minister know that Jesus is such a hope for his ministry.

Christ is our holiness. Timothy’s father was an unbelieving Greek (cf. Acts 16:1), but he bore the family-resemblance of the faith of his grandmother and mother (cf. 2 Timothy 1:5) and now also of Paul; the apostle calls him “a true son in the faith” (1 Timothy 1:2). This way of speaking includes his doctrine and his works in the ministry, but has a special focus upon his character and his manner. Paul is about to be taken from the church, but he leaves behind at least one—and soon, hopefully(!), many more—man who is his ministerial spitting image. 

But this resemblance comes not only from Paul as spiritual father, but another and infinitely greater Father. We know God as “our Father” (1 Timothy 1:2) especially in Jesus Christ, the Son. He is the full display of the Father in human flesh (cf. John 1:18; John 14:9). It is to this Son to Whose image we have been predestined to be conformed (cf. Romans 8:29). And this is the ultimate sonship for a believer. When we see God making us to resemble faithful ones whom He used in our lives, we know that ultimately this goes back to a reflection of His own image in Christ (cf. 1 Corinthians 11:1).

Christ is our help and happiness. “Grace” is all that God is for all that we lack. Strength for our weakness (cf. 2 Corinthians 12:9). Righteousness for our sinfulness and life for our death (cf. Ephesians 2:1–10). “Peace” is related; it’s that condition of health and wholeness in every way, which is the result of having God be for us. So, the apostle often joins these two. 

But here (and the other two pastoral epistles), he also adds “mercy.” It’s that gentle kindness of God in time that proceeds from His electing love in eternity. It emphasizes that the grace and peace are not merely transactional but personal, the outflowings of a good God Who is pleased to make us the objects of this mercy. This supplies not just the help of what God can do for us but the happiness of Who God has made Himself to be to us. How Timothy would need to know and cling to this as a reforming minister in Ephesus!

Why shouldn’t the variety of approaches to “church” lead us to believe that there are many right ways? Whom do you know on earth that is an example like that of Paul for you? Whose resemblance, ultimately, should we be hoping to bear? How can this happen? Why would God do so?

Sample prayer:  Lord, as our God and Savior and Hope, You have given commandment concerning how we must operate in Your church. Forgive us for when we think or act as if there are many right ways of operating in Your church. As we have no strength or life or goodness in ourselves, give these to us in Your grace as You did for Timothy, so that we too may have Your peace. Since our sin is against Your glory, make us to know You through Jesus Christ, Who Himself is the brightness of Your glory, so that we may rejoice to be objects of Your mercy, which we ask in His Name, AMEN!

 Suggested songs: ARP23B “The Lord’s My Shepherd” or TPH429 “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing”

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

God's Sovereignty, False Preachers, Lying Spirits, and Suffering Prophets [Family Worship lesson in 1Kings 22:1–40]

How far does the sovereignty of God extend? 1Kings 22:1–40 looks forward to the first serial reading in morning public worship on the coming Lord’s Day. In these forty verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that the sovereignty of God extends to determining the future, doing good through those who intend and do evil, the suffering of His servants, and the slightest little “coincidences.”
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2022.08.17 Hopewell @Home ▫ 1 Kings 22:1–40

Read 1 Kings 22:1–40

Questions from the Scripture text: How long did the truce last (1 Kings 22:1)? What happened in the third year (1 Kings 22:2)? To whom does Ahab say what, in Jehoshaphat’s hearing, in 1 Kings 22:3? Then what does he propose in 1 Kings 22:4? How does Jehoshaphat respond? But what does he want (1 Kings 22:5)? How many of whom does Ahab gather to ask in 1 Kings 22:6? What do they say? But what does Jehoshaphat recognize that none of them truly are (1 Kings 22:7), despite the name that they use in 1 Kings 22:11-12? Whom does Ahab know is the only true prophet (1 Kings 22:8)? What does he say about him? How does Jehoshaphat respond? Whom does Ahab call in 1 Kings 22:9? What is the setting in 1 Kings 22:10? What are all the prophets doing? Whose prophesy does 1 Kings 22:11 specifically record? What does he say? Who else is saying this (1 Kings 22:12)? What does the messenger tell Micaiah to do with their words (1 Kings 22:13)? What does he tell Micaiah to let his own word be? But how does Micaiah answer him (1 Kings 22:14)? So who told Micaiah to answer the king the way that he does in 1 Kings 22:15? Who, in 1 Kings 22:16, recognized the sarcastic aping with which Micaiah had mocked the other prophets? What does he tell Micaiah to do instead? Now what does Yahweh tell Micaiah to say (1 Kings 22:17)? How does Ahab respond (1 Kings 22:18)? And how does Yahweh explain what is going on with the other prophets (1 Kings 22:19-23)? What is this meant to accomplish (1 Kings 22:201 Kings 22:23)? What sort of spirit is under the sovereignty of God (1 Kings 22:21-22, cf. Genesis 50:20)? Who claims to speak by the same spirit as Micaiah (1 Kings 22:24)? What will happen to him (1 Kings 22:25)? What does Ahab command to be done with Micaiah (1 Kings 22:26-27)? Until when? What does Micaiah say about this (1 Kings 22:28)? Whom does he urge to take heed of this? Who go where in 1 Kings 22:29? How does Ahab trick Jehoshaphat into thinking that he is honoring him as the lead king (1 Kings 22:30)? What had the king of Syria commanded (1 Kings 22:31)? Whom do they think they have found in 1 Kings 22:32? But what did he do that revealed their mistake? How do they respond in 1 Kings 22:33? Who shoots the arrow in 1 Kings 22:34? At what does he aim? Whom does it strike? Where? Whom does Ahab tell to do what? Now what happened during the day (1 Kings 22:35)? And what happened in the evening? What did the blood fill? What shout went out in 1 Kings 22:36, revealing what circumstance? To where was the dead king brought (1 Kings 22:37)? What did they do with him there? But what happened to his blood, and how (1 Kings 22:38)? According to what word? Who had spoken it (verse 38, but also cf. 1 Kings 21:17–19)? With whom did Ahab lie down in 1 Kings 22:40? Why is this particular instance not a good thing? Who reigned in his place?

How far does the sovereignty of God extend? 1 Kings 22:1–40 looks forward to the first serial reading in morning public worship on the coming Lord’s Day. In these forty verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that the sovereignty of God extends to determining the future, doing good through those who intend and do evil, the suffering of His servants, and the slightest little “coincidences.”

God’s sovereignty extends to determining the future. Ahab is trying to determine the future in 1 Kings 22:3. He mentions the situation with Ramoth Gilead offhand to his servants, so Jehoshaphat can overhear. Then he offers Jehoshaphat the “opportunity” to come to the rescue in 1 Kings 22:4

But Jehoshaphat is accustomed to doing things according to the Word of Yahweh (we’ll learn more about this in the next passage). He asks for the Word in 1 Kings 22:5, but as someone who still has true prophets at his disposal in the South, he immediately recognizes that every one of the four hundred in 1 Kings 22:6 is a false preacher. Elijah is not the sort of prophet that one can summon, but Ahab has one left. But since he preaches convicting sermons that encourage repentance (1 Kings 22:8) rather than those that encourage the king to do what he wants (1 Kings 22:13), Ahab hates him. 

How great is our sinfulness? We will willingly choose four hundred prophets that make us feel good over one who says what is right! But that’s the point in 1 Kings 22:29, isn’t it? Yahweh’s Word determines the future, and Yahweh’s Word tells us what to do. “Take heed, all you people!” 

Indeed, the entire episode fulfills the word which Yahweh had spoken (1 Kings 22:38) through the lips of Elijah in 1 Kings 21:17–19. God’s sovereignty extends to determining the future.

God’s sovereignty extends to doing good, even through those who intend and do evil. The most impactful instance of this is the cross. Never has the good God done more good through evil men and evil devils who were doing evil. Another particularly memorable example of this is summarized in the words of Joseph to his brothers in Genesis 50:20. They intended evil and did evil because they are evil, but the good God had intended the good that He would do even through those events. 

It is good, righteous, that Ahab would fall disastrously (1 Kings 22:201 Kings 22:23). God is the Author of this good—even as it comes by way of an evil spirit that is too happy and willing to be a lying spirit in the prophets’ mouths. That demon is the author of its own evil.

Do we live in a day where false, “encouraging” preachers outnumber faithful ones 400:1? This is under the sovereignty of God, Who righteously brings such calamities upon people who use His Name on worship that mixes in their own ideas. There is a special justness in their being given over to their own false preaching as a judgment for their own false worship. But God is true, even if every man is a liar. 

God’s sovereignty extends to the suffering of his servants. It bears pointing out that Micaiah’s immediate reward for faithfulness is to be cast into prison, with special instructions that every bite of his bread be miserable and every sip of his water be miserable. 

When the servants of Christ, the Suffering Servant, suffer, let them not be surprised. And let them remember that God is both sovereign and good in the midst of it. We may learn much from the prophet who, rather than defending or protesting in his own behalf, responds with one more plea to all of the people to heed his faithful word (1 Kings 22:28). 

God’s sovereignty extends to the slightest little “coincidences.” We put the quotes on the word because how it is commonly used. But the passage gives us stark evidence to remind us that it is the sovereign God Who makes all things to coincide.

Jehoshaphat has gullibly dressed as the only king that day, perhaps even thinking that Ahab is trying to honor him by making him the leader of the joint army. We know from other history that most of the northern army was actually off fighting the Assyrians, so perhaps the king of Judah thought that this was his time to shine. Whatever the case, when he yelps that he’s the king of Judah (1 Kings 22:32), the well-instructed captains (1 Kings 22:31) call off the chase (1 Kings 22:33) and return to the rest of the battle. 

So which of these diligent, well-trained captains gets Ahab? Probably none of them. It’s just “a man” in 1 Kings 22:34. And he’s not even aiming—he just draws his bow at random. And this “randomly” shot arrow just happens to penetrate in between a joint of the royal armor. And where it hits, it just “happened” to get a blood vessel so that the wound is mortal, and the chariot fills with blood. And it needed to be enough blood so that the blood-licking prophecy of 1 Kings 21:19 could be fulfilled. God’s sovereignty extends to the slightest little “coincidences”!

Why must you yield to the reality of God’s sovereign rule over everything that happens? Over what evils have you had difficulty reconciling God’s sovereignty? How does this passage (and the cross!) help? What are some “coincidences” in which God’s sovereignty has been particularly noteworthy to you?

Sample prayer:  Lord, we thank You and praise You for Your sovereign rule in all things. Even when evil spirits and evil men are doing evil, You are good, and You are intending it for good, and You are doing good. Forgive us for all of the sin that would justify You in giving us over to false preachers and false doctrine. Forgive us for responding to conviction with irritation instead of repentance. Forgive us for preferring what we think is “encouraging” to what is true, when those are different things. Forgive us for when we forget that You work all things according to the counsel of Your will. And make us to be faithful, trusting, and humble under Your mighty hand—even as did Micaiah and his Master, our Lord Jesus Christ, in Whose Name we pray, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP1 “How Blessed the Man” or TPH1A “That Man Is Blest” 

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Reinforcing the 8th Commandment: Laws to Punish Theft and Arbitrate Property Loss [2022.08.14 Evening Sermon in Exodus 22:1–15]


Personal responsibility extends to not stealing and to how we handle others' property.

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God's Eternal Plan to Glorify Himself as Giver of Repentance to the Nations in Jesus [2022.08.14 Morning Sermon in Acts 11:2–18; Ephesians 1–4; Genesis 3:14–15; Psalm 72]


When we glorify God for giving repentance to the Gentiles, we are glorifying Him in Jesus Christ for having reconciled us to Himself, reconciled us to each other, delivering us from the devil, and bringing us under the everlasting and blessed kingship of our Lord Jesus Christ.

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How Can I Benefit from My Baptism? 1 of 2 [2022.08.14 Sabbath School]

"How Can I Benefit From My Baptism" in the RHB series, "Cultivating Biblical Godliness" 1 of 2.
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How God Uses Affliction to Turn Us from Fear of Man to Fear of God [Family Worship lesson in Psalm 64]

How can the righteous be delivered from fear of the wicked? Psalm 64 looks forward to the opening portion of morning public worship on the coming Lord’s Day. In these eleven verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that we ought to expect the malicious and apparently foolproof attacks of the wicked, but when we see them through the lens of Who God is, we are delivered from a state of fear and brought instead into a state of gladness, confidence, and praise.
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2022.08.16 Hopewell @Home ▫ Psalm 64

Read Psalm 64

Questions from the Scripture text: To whom was this Psalm entrusted (superscript)? Who penned it? What does he immediately ask God to do in Psalm 64:1? From what does he ask God to preserve his life? What does he ask God to do to him in Psalm 64:2? As what are the wicked using their tongues (Psalm 64:3)? How do they employ this weapon (Psalm 64:4)? What do they not do (verse 4b)? What do the wicked do to themselves in Psalm 64:5? Of what do they assure themselves (Psalm 64:5-6b)? Why can’t we access others’ (and perhaps our own) inward thought and heart (Psalm 64:6c, cf. Jeremiah 17:9)? Who can access, and what does He do to the wicked (Psalm 64:7a)? With what effect (verse 7b)? Whom does He make the Psalm 64:3a weapon to wound (Psalm 64:8a)? What two things do others do in verse 8b? What do all remaining men do in Psalm 64:9a? In verse 9b? Why do they praise Him (verse 9c)? Who make the three responses in Psalm 64:10? What are those responses? 

How can the righteous be delivered from fear of the wicked? Psalm 64 looks forward to the opening portion of morning public worship on the coming Lord’s Day. In these eleven verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that we ought to expect the malicious and apparently foolproof attacks of the wicked, but when we see them through the lens of Who God is, we are delivered from a state of fear and brought instead into a state of gladness, confidence, and praise.

The situations that we can expectPsalm 64:3-6. David asks to be heard, preserved, and hidden in Psalm 64:1-2. verse 1b presents the greatest danger: fear. But the Lord is a deliverer from fear releasing us from its Satanic bondage (cf. Hebrews 2:14–15). How does He do that? 

Firstly, He gives us reasonable expectations. If God gives us songs for when others use words with the intent of mortal harm (Psalm 64:3), and cleverly execute a seemingly foolproof plan (Psalm 64:4Psalm 64:6a–b), to get clean away with it (Psalm 64:5)… then why are we surprised when we experience such things in life? Truly, their inward thought and heart are out of both their own range (cf. Jeremiah 17:9) and ours (Psalm 64:6c); so, things may be better than they seem or even much worse. God’s Word prepares us to be surprised by neither.

The God through Whom we must view such situationsPsalm 64:7-8. This Psalm turns on that same glorious hinge as in Ephesians 2:4, “but God.” The situation hasn’t yet changed, but the “But God” reminds him of how it must end, and that even before it does so, God is already acting according to all of His glorious character.

God is all-wise and knowing (Psalm 64:7a). The depth of men’s hearts are out of our range, but not God’s. He can see clearly to aim. 

God is perfectly powerful and effective (Psalm 64:7b). His arrow always finds its mark. 

God is perfectly just (Psalm 64:8a). The weapon from Psalm 64:3a ultimately enters into themselves, a symmetry that declares God’s justness. 

God is merciful (Psalm 64:8b). Whereas they had comforted themselves that no one would see, not only does God Himself see, but He makes others to see as well. Why? So that others may flee away. When God shows to us the dangers of sin in others, He mercifully warns us off of our own sin, and we should heed that warning.

The corrected response of the righteousPsalm 64:9-10. Now that the righteous is viewing his situation through the lens of Who God is, his response has shifted 180 degrees. Fear of the enemy in Psalm 64:1b has been exchanged for the fear of the Lord in Psalm 64:9a. Instead of praying about the works of the enemy in Psalm 64:2b, he is declaring the work of God in Psalm 64:9b. Instead of anxiety over the shrewdness of the enemy in Psalm 64:6b, there is wise consideration of God’s actions in Psalm 64:9c.

God will bring the righteous finally into that perfect blessedness that Christ, their righteousness, has earned for them. But even before then, the Spirit has given us songs and prayers like this one that bring us from a state of anxious fear to a state of joy, confidence, and praise (Psalm 64:10): joy (“glad in Yahweh”), confidence (“trust in Him”), and praise (“all the upright in heart shall glory”).

When the Lord brings us into situations like David’s, we may be sure that He intends for us to turn our attention to Him and to exchange anxious fear for that fear of the Lord that brings us into a condition of joy, confidence, and praise!

What people or circumstances is the Lord using to turn you to Himself in joy, confidence, and praise? How are you making use of those circumstances in order to have your heart turned to Him?

Sample prayer:  Lord, thank You for the perfect wisdom in which You order our lives, and for the patient help that Your Word gives us for navigating the more difficult parts. Forgive us for when men seem big to us, and You seem small, resulting in anxious fear. Grant that Your Spirit would direct our hearts unto You, so that upon the hinge of knowing You, we might exchange anxious fear for that holy fear of You. Thus, bring us, we pray, into gladness and trust and glorying in Jesus Christ, through Whom we ask it, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP9B “Sing Praise to the Lord” or TPH64 “Hear My Voice, O God”