“For we are the true circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh,” – Philippians 3:3 (NASB)
Our verse selected today is straightforward and direct. It pulls no punches presenting truth. But first, let’s understand the first phrase. When God commanded of Abraham to perform circumcision on every male child on the eighth day after birth, it was to be established as a covenant sign. The practice wasn’t foreign in the culture of that time but it was given by God with special religious significance. Physical circumcision identified a male as belonging to the physical and ethnic lineage of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Israel). Christians are not commanded to abide by the physical act. But it is a spiritual characteristic of a person whose wages of sin has been forgiven and removed. We find three proofs of a true believer. First: “worship in the Spirit of God” means we render inner and respectful spiritual service with our spirit as one with the Spirit of God. Second: “glory in Christ Jesus” means⸺to boast with exultant joy⸺giving all the credit for all that we are to Christ Jesus. Third: “no confidence in the flesh” references our unredeemed humanness, ability, and achievements apart from God. It’s us trying to prove ourselves good enough for God’s approval.
“Sing to the Lord, all the earth;
Proclaim good tidings of His salvation from day to day.
Tell of His glory among the nations,
His wonderful deeds among all the peoples.” – 1 Chronicles 16:23-24 (NASB)
Today’s passage is found in 1 Chronicles and was ordered by David to become part of the dedication of the newly refurbished Tent of Meeting or also known as the Tabernacle during the 40 years of Israel’s wandering in the dessert. Since the settlement and partition of the Promised Land to the 12 tribes of Jacob the Ark of God (also known as the Ark of the Covenant) had been kept safe in various places. David brought the Ark into Jerusalem which would become the site of Solomon’s temple. This hymn of thanksgiving is actually a compilation of passages from other psalms, which suggests the priority of those psalms for worship and thanksgiving. David, an experienced song writer must have excerpted parts from his earlier poetry and woven them together into this beautiful piece. The portion from verses 7-22 are from Psalm 105:1-6 where the psalmist began with a call to praise and rejoice because of the Lord’s many wonderful acts and His holy name. His name means His attributes that are revealed to us. Like Israel all who believe should depend on the Lord (look and seek His face), remembering His miraculous works.
Then Joshua spoke to the Lord in the day when the Lord delivered up the Amorites before the sons of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel,
“O sun, stand still at Gibeon,
And O moon in the valley of Aijalon.”
So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped,
Until the nation avenged themselves of their enemies. Joshua 10:12-13 (NASB)
Today, for those living north of the equator, this is the day with the longest span of daylight. It is so by design. However, there was a longer day. Joshua, leading the armies of Israel according to God’s sovereign and holy command, was acting according to what the LORD God promised. “I have given them into your hands; not one of them shall stand before you.” (Joshua 10:8) Joshua needed and prayed for more time to fully rout the enemy. To do justice to our passage, it’s best accepted as an outright, monumental miracle. Joshua, moved by the Lord’s will, commanded the sun to delay. Some say it was an eclipse hid the sun, or a local refraction of the sun’s rays, or it only seemed to Joshua’s men that the sun and moon stopped as God helped them accomplish in one literal 24-hour day what would’ve take longer. However, such ideas fail to do justice to this passage and needlessly question God’s power as Creator. The sun does not move but the earth revolves so it appear to move, God who created all things as they are, could also stop the earth’s rotation and the sun would appear stop.
“The Lord was with Joseph, so he became a successful man. And he was in the house of his master, the Egyptian. Now his master saw that the Lord was with him and how the Lord caused all that he did to prosper in his hand.” – Genesis 39:2-3 (NASB)
Within the story of Joseph, the son of Israel we find many promises from God. A favored son of Jacob, Joseph was treated badly and sold into slavery by his 10 older brothers. If all that Joseph had was his famous brightly colored coat, he would have been ruined when his brothers took it from him and sold him into slavery. But even then Joseph had character and when Joseph lost his coat, he didn’t lose his character. When finding himself a slave to an Egyptian, we would understand a measure of despondency. We’d not be surprised if Joseph refused to become involved in the world around him, protesting Egypt’s paganism, and resenting Potiphar’s authority. This approach, though, would not have provided him an opportunity show God’s mercy and grace. When God’s blessing is on a life, it will be apparent—and sometimes, as we see with Potiphar, even pagans can’t help but notice. Let’s learn to live with like awareness that every matter in our lives, every moment we’re given, and every move we make, and every word we speak is an opportunity to bring glory and praise to God.
“Now Moses was faithful in all God’s house as a servant, to testify to the things that were to be spoken later, but Christ is faithful over God’s house as a son. And we are his house, if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope.” – Hebrews 3:5-6 (ESV)
There are many pictures in the Bible to represent our relation to our God and also to His Son our Savior. The phrase “we are His house” uses the word ‘house’ in a way similar to ruling aristocratic houses. A close example: Queen Elizabeth II is in the line of The House of Windsor. Our verse today paints a mental picture of a household – of a family. It says that we are God’s house. This doesn’t mean a physical building. It includes the people who have been born spiritually into God’s family. It is also a picture of a household in which a father placed his son in charge of things. We are God’s house, adopted as full sons and daughters into His family, and His Son Jesus Christ is in charge. Let’s not forget that Jesus is watching over us, praying for us, mindful of our needs and meeting our needs each day. This is the way it really is, let’s rejoice in the knowledge that we are a part of this family and this household today. Let’s hold firmly to our confidence in that hope of the glory of God.
Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls. 1 Peter 1:8-9 (ESV)
As an Apostle, Peter, one of the 12 disciples of Jesus helped spread the news of the early Christian Church. Peter walked with Jesus and heard him teach. He many times ate meals with Jesus and talked with him face to face. Peter wrote these words in his first letter because he wanted those who would be reading it but had never seen Jesus. We have never seen Jesus as Peter did but we love him and we believe in him. The promises are many as we focus on verse 9. “Obtaining” could be translated “presently receiving for yourselves.” Christians now possess the result of their faith, a constant deliverance from the power of sin. In another sense, we are waiting to receive the full salvation of eternal glory in the redemption of our bodies We can experience this inexpressible and glorious joy because we have believed in Christ – even though we have never seen him. Our faith has opened the eyes of our hearts and minds to believe in Him as our Savior and Lord. It’s hard to express sometimes but in our hearts we know He is true. What a joy it is to have that assurance.
“As he was drawing near—already on the way down the Mount of Olives—the whole multitude of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen, saying, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” Luke 19:38 (ESV)
Today is another special day for us who know Jesus Christ as our Savior. We call it Passion Sunday or Palm Sunday because as the people welcomed Jesus they laid down their robes and palm branches in the road in front of Jesus It is the day the people outside of Jerusalem followed him and sang praises to the Lord as he approached the city. Notice the words “the whole multitude of his disciples.” Many people were following Jesus hoping He would establish His kingdom and free them from Roman tyranny. But Jesus had a different plan. The verse we have for today is the message that God wanted people to proclaim on that day. When the Pharisees suggested that Jesus rebuke those who were singing, He replied that if these people did not tell the message, the stones would cry out. What the people sang was the truth which needed to be heard. It’s is a message which we all need to proclaim. This Jesus who was to die on the cross that very week is our King. We need to recognize Him as the King of our lives and we need to honor Him every day.
“Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness!” Psalm 115:1 (ESV)
We would be right to understand that nothing we can do that is greater than giving God the Glory He deserve*. Many of the songs in the Psalms remind us of the reasons we have for thanking and for praising our Lord. We notice that the very act of giving praise to God is the way we are to give Him glory. We do not worship God in order to generate good feelings within ourselves – although sincere praise does bring satisfaction and joy to us. Our verse teaches us that the reason we have any reason for thankfulness and praise is because of God’s love and because of His faithfulness. It is true, isn’t it? The reason God helps us and does so much for his children is His love for us. His love is steadfast, it is the lovingkindness that he has for us. When God does something for us, if He answers our prayers and meets our needs because of His love, not our merit. God also helps us because He is faithful to His promises and to His character also. He can be depended on, what He says, He will do.
What is Glory of God?
“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” – Ephesians 3:20-21 (ESV)
Can we say that the promise in today’s passage is the promise of God’s power working within us? Yes, we can. For this is just what the Apostle Paul is praying for with confidence for all believers. This power is abundant to the point of exceeding our ability to ask or imagine. Beyond our thoughts. But, again we need the context to understand more completely how this power is made available. Spiritual power is a mark of every Christian who submits to God’s Word and Spirit. It is not reserved for some special class of Christian, but for all those who discipline their minds and spirits to study the Word, understand it, and live by it. Paul’s prayer included requests for: strength for our inner person; the dwelling of Christ in our hearts through faith; solidly grounded and rooted in love; ability to comprehend the fullness of God’s love which surpasses knowledge; and filled with the fullness of God. When these conditions are met, God’s power working in and through believers, is unlimited and far beyond any comprehension. All for His glory in Christ Jesus and His church forever. That is God’s promise of power for us.
“For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.” 2 Corinthians 4:6 (NIV)
Our Father in heaven has done so very much for us. He is the God of light in many ways and our verse reminds us that He brings that light into our hearts. The Apostle Paul makes a direct reference to God as Creator, who commanded physical light into existence (Genesis 1:3). The God who created physical light in the universe creates supernatural light in the soul and bring believers from the kingdom of darkness to His kingdom of light (Colossians 1:13). The light is expressed as “the knowledge of the glory of God.” That means to know that Christ is God incarnate. To be saved, one must understand that the glory of God shone in Jesus Christ and He drives darkness from our lives. Isn’t it wonderful to know that we don’t have to live in that darkness or with it in our hearts? God has made his light shine in our hearts and it is a glorious light for us who have believed. Be encouraged today as you recognize that God is a God of glory and He wants us to know of His glory. It is a promise that will bring light to our hearts and to our lives.