“Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations.” Psalm 90:1 (NASB)
The promise from God that we have to consider today is in a very short verse a Psalm written by Moses. He was writing from his own experience and the experience of other people of faith who lived before him. The word “dwelling” is like a “hiding place” or “refuge.” God promised to be their sanctuary for protection, substance, and stability. We believe his words also are for us and can describe our experience today as well. The next verse is also expressive of God’s promises. “Before the mountains were born Or You gave birth to the earth and the world, Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.” It’s like saying that the Lord is our home. It’s true that when we trust in Him we do feel at home. Our Lord desires for us to feel at home with Him. It’s so comfortable to be able to trust Him and to sense His fellowship. Let’s always remember to come home to the Lord because we belong there. He is and He always will be throughout all generations for those who believe and accept Jesus. That is something we can be very thankful for today, tomorrow, and forever.
“Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.” Romans 8:26 (ESV)
Our verse is in a context that makes known the creation* and believers* both groan for ultimate restoration, the Holy Spirit does as well. One of the last promises Jesus made to His disciples was that he would send a helper and fulfilled it through the Holy Spirit sent from God our Father. The groanings too deep for words is communication within the Trinity that cannot be expressed in words. It is the Holy Spirit that works with our Lord Jesus in His high priestly work of intercession. All on our behalf for all who have believed in Jesus as their Savior, have the Holy Spirit in their lives. The Holy Spirit is helping us to pray by praying with us to our Heavenly Father. To start with, we really don’t know in ourselves how we should pray. God promises that if we ask the Holy Spirit to guide us He will impress on our hearts what things to pray for and even how to pray. As we pray we can trust the Spirit to pray with us and we can depend
* For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. Romans 8:22-23
“And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.” 1 John 4:16 (NIV)
Three of the most comforting and encouraging words ever, “God is love.” We know it yet we don’t always understand it. One of the many great truths revealed to us in the Bible is God’s love for us. The writer of these words in our verse today is the Apostle John. John knew of God’s love and he had experienced it as he walked and talked with Jesus. He had seen Jesus heal sick, raise the dead and he had seen Jesus weep. He also watched Jesus die as he was nailed to the executioners cross. He saw the resurrected Jesus and he saw Jesus rise up into heaven. John knew God’s love and he relied on it. We today also know God’s love because we have believed that Jesus died for us, rose again to new life and accepted him as our Savior and Lord. We experience His love in our lives and we depend on Him each day because we know how He loves us with a perfect love. We live in the love of God and God lives in us. A wonderful and encouraging promise we can depend upon to be true. Be thankful and rejoice!
“I will lead the blind by a way they do not know, In paths they do not know I will guide them. I will make darkness into light before them And rugged places into plains. These are the things I will do, And I will not leave them undone.” – Isaiah 42:16 (NASB)
Remember observing how a blind person manages their way around their world? It’s amazing what one can do when it has to be done. In a very real sense we are all blinded by different things at times in our lives. We who believe in Jesus also need help understanding finding the right path in our lives. When we encounter strange paths God promises to help us. In the dark places He promises to guide us and He turns on the light we need. We all face situations which are new and different or are problematic and we especially need wisdom to navigate our decision process. Now and then we just can’t see a way out and we need God to guide us, He opens our eyes and chases the darkness away. Our Father God promises to smooth out rough places and show us where to step. He promises to be our guide through times that are difficult, lonely, sorrowful, frightening times and when we have simply lost our way. During times of personal loss or when evil threatens us, God is with us. He will not forsake us. He is a lamp for our feet in the dark.
“From of old no one has heard or perceived by the ear, no eye has seen a God besides you, who acts for those who wait for him.” Isaiah 64:4 (ESV)
Isaiah’s words remind us again today of the greatness and love of God and how singular He is in this universe. These words were true in Isaiah’s time nearly 2600 years ago. He declares that since the beginning there has been only one God who would respond to the needs of the human race. And during all these years since Isaiah wrote these words, there has been no other God – although many have tried to create them. God’s judgmental manifestations are unique. No one has witnessed the likes of His awesome works on behalf of His own. In 1 Corinthians* Paul adapts words from this verse to speak of direct revelation of God imparted to His apostles and prophets and pertaining to mysteries hidden from mankind before the birth of the church. What a joy to know that we do have a God who acts on our behalf when we turn to Him. We can trust in the promise that He acts on our behalf. This is the one and only God and He is our God, our heavenly Father who is near us every day.
* “But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”—1 Corinthians 2:9
“For You have been a defense for the helpless, A defense for the needy in his distress, A refuge from the storm, a shade from the heat; For the breath of the ruthless Is like a rain storm against a wall.” Isaiah 25:4 (NASB)
Life is not a bed of roses they say. If it was we’d all be pricked by the thorns too much. Yet there are thorns that stick it to us anyway. The prophet Isaiah knew the wonder of God and what He did for His own who were in need. This verse gives us four ways that God promised to provide for those in need in Isaiah’s day. For those oppressed God is our defense against oppressors. Our Lord God also is our defense when we are in need. He is a refuge and we can look to Him when we feel threatened and when we wonder how things will work out for us. When our life is beset by stormy weather we find shelter with our Lord. And if our situation creates a lot of heat like the desert we can find relief from the heat. Sometimes we face people who have us up against a wall – we can trust and know God is with us to help us. So, let’s allow the words of our verse to remind us today how full sufficient our God is to be there and meet our every need.
“Many, O Lord my God, are the wonders which You have done, And Your thoughts toward us; There is none to compare with You. If I would declare and speak of them, They would be too numerous to count.” Psalm 40:5 (NASB)
“As the host of heaven cannot be counted and the sand of the sea cannot be measured, so I will multiply the descendants of David My servant…” Jeremiah 33:22 (NASB)
Let’s think about the times we have been outside at night looking up at the stars. Ever tried to count the ones you can see? Most of us have at least once. Men like Brahe, Kepler and Galileo in the seventeenth century gave birth to modern astronomy. Up to that point Hippocrates had said there were 1,022 stars. Ptolemy said, “No, there are 1,056.” Kepler said, “You’re both wrong. There are 1,055.” If they had read Jeremiah 33:22 and Psalm 40:5, our verses today, they would know that the stars and other wonders of God can’t be counted. Those of us who are true followers of God can remember times when God has shown his greatness as He takes care of our needs. We know of His greatness for others who believe His words. As David wrote the words in today’s verse and He was thinking of what God had done⸺already now many centuries ago. God has never ceased to show Himself in the same way and does so all the time throughout the centuries. The promise we carry today is that no other person or entity can compare to Our God, He is the only One.
“So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household” Ephesians 2:19 (NASB)
God’s kingdom is made up of the people from all time who have trusted in Him. There are no strangers, foreigners, or second-class citizens there. Redeemed sinners not only become heavenly citizens but also members of God’s own family. The Father bestows on believers the same infinite love He gives His Son. This verse reminds us of our identity as Christians. This is the promise God makes for each of us and He wants us all to recognize the great change that His promise makes in our status and identity the moment we believed in Jesus as our Savior – the only way to heaven. Our verse speaks of our former status as foreigners and aliens without standing in God’s family. But now we are citizens. God sent His Son into this world to make this change possible. God recognized that we, His creatures didn’t belong to Him but He wanted us to be His by new birth. We are citizens together with God people, citizens with eternal rights to heaven. Even more, we belong to God’s household, members of His family. What a life affirming promise that is for us today.
“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10 (NASB)
While we read and think on this verse let’s be sure to notice that the emphasis is on God and His plans for us. It’s not on what we do for God but on what He does for us. When the verse speaks of our being created by God it really means our being born again – our re-creation because of what Jesus did for us. It is God who makes that happen and makes us His child and gives to us eternal life. That makes us the work of God – we are His workmanship. Good works cannot produce salvation but they are subsequent and the result of what God has empowered⸺they are the fruits and evidences of the salvation he prepared beforehand for each of us. Our sanctification as believers and our good works were ordained before time began (Ephesians 1:3–6). God has a purpose in this and it is that we will do what He gives us to do. We will tend to the work He gives us. Good works in our lives comes after His work in our lives. And all this was prepared and planned in advance. It is God’s plan that comes together for our benefit.
“May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.” 2 Peter 1:2 (ESV)
These words which are a blessing or prayer written by the Apostle Peter in the second letter he wrote to Christian believers in the first century. This “knowledge” is a strengthened form implying a larger, more thorough, and intimate knowledge. Our precious faith is built on knowing the truth about God. Christianity is not a mystical religion, but is based in objective, historical, revealed, rational truth from God and intended to be understood and believed. The deeper and wider that knowledge of the Lord, the more abundant is the “grace and peace”. What a great difference it makes in our lives when we come to know God and His Son Jesus Christ. When we accept Jesus as our Savior, God brings us into His family and begins to reveal himself to us. He wants us to know Him and to keep learning more and more about Him. Our verse today promises us what happens when we learn to know our Lord better. We receive grace and peace that multiplies through knowing Him. It will be true as we learn to know Him better. What a benefit is promised to us here.