We Are All God’s People

We are all the work of God’s hand.

Ps 19:14 – Let the sayings of my mouth, And the meditation of my heart, Be for a pleasing thing before Thee, O Jehovah, my rock, and my redeemer! (YLT)

The sayings of my mouth.

Expressions that expose what is in my heart, revealing what I perceive to be truth and wisdom.

Do we regularly listen critically to the sayings of our mouth to discern whether they agree with the words that the Lord God speaks, words that are Spirit and life?

The meditation of my heart.

To earnestly, deeply think and to murmur with tenderness, evoking a strong emotional response.

Do we consistently analyze our deep thoughts, tender murmurings, and emotional responses to understand what drives and influences us?

Guard your heart.

Prov 4:23-27 – Above everything else, guard your heart; for it is the source of life’s consequences. Keep crooked speech out of your mouth, banish deceit from your lips. Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze on what lies in front of you. Level the path for your feet, let all your ways be properly prepared; then deviate neither right nor left; and keep your foot far from evil. (CJB)

The heart. The source of life’s consequences. Guard your heart.

Do we guard our heart through the sayings of our mouth and the meditation of our heart?

When we read and study and meditate on the Lord God’s words, do we hear and understand them only from a personal perspective? Or do we hear and understand them from a collective and universal perspective as well?

They have never known what it is to feel secure or enjoy God’s blessing.

Rom 3:9-18 – Well, then, are we Jews better than others? No, not at all, for we have already shown that all men alike are sinners, whether Jews or Gentiles. As the Scriptures say, “No one is good-no one in all the world is innocent.” No one has ever really followed God’s paths or even truly wanted to. Every one has turned away; all have gone wrong. No one anywhere has kept on doing what is right; not one. Their talk is foul and filthy like the stench from an open grave. Their tongues are loaded with lies. Everything they say has in it the sting and poison of deadly snakes. Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.  They are quick to kill, hating anyone who disagrees with them. Wherever they go they leave misery and trouble behind them, and they have never known what it is to feel secure or enjoy God’s blessing. They care nothing about God nor what he thinks of them. (TLB)

Do you accept these strong, unflattering words as true about yourself?

All have gone wrong.
Every one has turned away.
Their tongues are loaded with lies.
Everything they say has in it the sting and poison of deadly snakes.
Wherever they go they leave misery and trouble behind them.

And they know not what they do.

The rescuing gift.

Rom 5:12-19 – You know the story of how Adam landed us in the dilemma we’re in — first sin, then death, and no one exempt from either sin or death. That sin disturbed relations with God in everything and everyone, but the extent of the disturbance was not clear until God spelled it out in detail to Moses. So death, this huge abyss separating us from God, dominated the landscape from Adam to Moses. Even those who didn’t sin precisely as Adam did by disobeying a specific command of God still had to experience this termination of life, this separation from God. But Adam, who got us into this, also points ahead to the One who will get us out of it.

Yet the rescuing gift is not exactly parallel to the death-dealing sin. If one man‘s sin put crowds of people at the dead-end abyss of separation from God, just think what God’s gift poured through one man, Jesus Christ, will do! There’s no comparison between that death-dealing sin and this generous, life-giving gift. The verdict on that one sin was the death sentence; the verdict on the many sins that followed was this wonderful life sentence. If death got the upper hand through one man’s wrongdoing, can you imagine the breathtaking recovery life makes, sovereign life, in those who grasp with both hands this wildly extravagant life-gift, this grand setting-everything-right, that the one man Jesus Christ provides?

Here it is in a nutshell: Just as one person did it wrong and got us in all this trouble with sin and death, another person did it right and got us out of it. But more than just getting us out of trouble, he got us into life! One man said no to God and put many people in the wrong; one man said yes to God and put many in the right. (MSG)

The verdict on that one sin was the death sentence
The verdict on the many sins that followed was this wonderful life sentence.

Death sentence.
Saying no to God.
Hiding from God.
Turning away from his presence, disturbed relations with God, separation, terminated life.
They have never known what it is to feel secure or enjoy God’s blessing.

Life sentence.
Saying yes to God.
God’s gift poured through one man, Jesus Christ
Generous, life-giving gift
Wonderful life sentence
Setting everything right
Getting us out of all this trouble with sin, separation, and death
Getting us into life!

Through one man, Jesus Christ, we say yes to God.

2 Cor 1:20-22 – The yes to all of God’s promises is in Christ, and through Christ we say yes to the glory of God. Remember, God is the One who makes you and us strong in Christ. God made us his chosen people. He put his mark on us to show that we are his, and he put his Spirit in our hearts to be a guarantee for all he has promised. (NCV)

Through one man, Jesus Christ, we say yes to God, and we know what it is to feel secure and enjoy God’s blessing.

Say yes to God.
God is the One who makes us strong in Christ.

God put his mark on us. God anointed us. Anointed, through the idea of contact, to smear or rub with oil, to consecrate for service. To furnish what is needed, touch slightly, light upon.1

God put his Spirit in our hearts to be a guarantee for all he has promised.

Are you familiar with this contact, this touch that furnishes what is needed? Do you know his Spirit in your heart?

Pause. Breathe. Reflect.

1 John 2:27 – As for you, the Messianic anointing you received from the Father remains in you, so that you have no need for anyone to teach you. On the contrary, as his Messianic anointing continues to teach you about all things, and is true, not a counterfeit, so, just as he taught you, remain united with him. (CJB)

Remain united/abide: stay in a given place, state, relation or expectancy; be present.2

Above everything else, guard your heart.

Be present with Christ Jesus.

Level the path for your feet, let all your ways be properly prepared; then deviate neither right nor left; and keep your foot far from evil.

How do we level the path for our feet and let our ways be properly prepared?

Ps 119:59 – When I think on my ways, I turn my feet to your testimonies; (ESV)

Prov 5:6 – she does not ponder the path of life; her ways wander, and she does not know it. (ESV)

Think. Ponder. Turn. Know. Guard your heart. Be present.
Stay in a given place, state, relation or expectancy.
The path of life,
The one man who said yes to God.
Remain united with him.

If we don’t carefully guard our hearts, continually checking the sayings of our mouth and the meditation of our heart, turning to the testimonies of the Lord God, remaining united with the one who said yes to God, we’ll miss warnings that we’re wandering away from the path the Lord God has marked out for us. We won’t know it.

Do you do well to be angry?

Jonah began to go into the city, going a day’s journey. And he called out, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” And the people of Nineveh believed God. They called for a fast and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them to the least of them. When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God relented of the disaster that he had said he would do to them, and he did not do it. But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was angry. (Jonah 3:4-5, 10-4:1 ESV)

And the Lord said, “Do you do well to be angry?” (Jonah 4:4 ESV)

It seems that the Lord God’s question in response to Jonah’s anger urged Jonah to examine the sayings of his mouth and the meditation of his heart to discover what lay hidden deep in his heart, buried in his unconscious, that he did not know existed.

Honesty.

Luke 2:34-35 – Simeon went on to bless them, and said to Mary his mother, This child [Christ Jesus] marks both the failure and the recovery of many in Israel, A figure misunderstood and contradicted — the pain of a sword-thrust through you — But the rejection will force honesty, as God reveals who they really are. (MSG)

Both falling and rising. Both failure and recovery. Both dying and resurrection. Both, as God reveals who they really are…

The fall. Opposed to the Lord Jesus Christ. Speaking against him. Misunderstanding him. Contradicting him. Saying no to God. Trouble. Anguish. Illusion. Addiction. Fear. Anger. Unwilling to depend completely on him. Unwilling to do his will. Having never known what it is to feel secure or enjoy God’s blessing.

The rising again. A standing up again, i.e. literally a resurrection from death, or figuratively a recovery of spiritual truth. Saying yes to the Lord God through Christ Jesus! Knowing what it is to feel secure and enjoy God’s blessing.

Was the Lord God prodding Jonah to honestly search and examine his heart? What spirit was at work in the depths of his interior, influencing Jonah, igniting his anger?

Jonah 4:10-11 – And the Lord said [to Jonah], “You pity the plant, for which you did not labor, nor did you make it grow, which came into being in a night and perished in a night. And should not I pity Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know their right hand from their left, and also much cattle?” (ESV)

You pity the plant.
You did not labor for it.
You did not make it grow.
Should I not pity that great city, in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know?

Our hearts exposed.

Do we get angry when the Lord God chooses to take away gifts that he has given us? Do we get angry when people receive gifts that we judge them to be unworthy of? Do we get angry when we don’t receive what we expect? Do we get angry when we’ve been mistreated or misjudged?

Or, like many others who have said yes to God through Christ Jesus, have we learned to accept, to trust, and to praise the Lord God, saying yes to him in all circumstances?

2 Sam 16:11-12 – And David said to Abishai and to all his servants, “Behold, my own son seeks my life; how much more now may this Benjaminite! Leave him alone, and let him curse, for the Lord has told him to. It may be that the Lord will look on the wrong done to me, and that the Lord will repay me with good for his cursing today.” (ESV)

Ps 39:8-14 – Now, Adonai [LORD], what am I waiting for? You are my only hope. Rescue me from all my transgressions; don’t make me the butt of fools. I am silent, I keep my mouth shut, because it is you who have done it. Stop raining blows on me; the pounding of your fist is wearing me down. With rebukes you discipline people for their guilt; like a moth, you destroy what makes them attractive; yes, everyone is merely a puff of wind. (Selah)

Hear my prayer, Adonai [LORD], listen to my cry, don’t be deaf to my weeping; for with you, I am just a traveler passing through, like all my ancestors. Turn your gaze from me, so I can smile again before I depart and cease to exist. (CJB)

Job 1:21 – And he [Job] said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” (ESV)

Prov 24:17-18 – Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and let not your heart be glad when he stumbles, lest the Lord see it and be displeased, and turn away his anger from him. (ESV)

Matt 20:15 – Am I [Lord God] not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?’ (ESV)

Matt 20:15 – is it not lawful to me to do what I will in mine own? is thine eye evil because I am good? (YLT)

The Lord God asks:
Do you do well to be angry?
How are you seeing, perceiving my actions? With envy? With jealousy?
Is your eye evil, hurtful in effect or influence, ill, diseased, vicious?3
Is your eye evil because I am good? Do you begrudge my generosity?

Do we trust that the Lord God’s word is true, and his character is unchanging regardless of our circumstances and our ignorant judgments and interpretations regarding them?

Ps 145:17 – The Lord is righteous in all his ways and kind in all his works. (ESV)

The Lord is right and kind in discipline.

Jer 32:26-28, 30 – The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah: “Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is anything too hard for me? Therefore, thus says the Lord: Behold, I am giving this city into the hands of the Chaldeans and into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and he shall capture it…. For the children of Israel and the children of Judah have done nothing but evil in my sight from their youth. The children of Israel have done nothing but provoke me to anger by the work of their hands, declares the Lord. (ESV)

As the Scriptures say, “No one is good-no one in all the world is innocent.” No one has ever really followed God’s paths or even truly wanted to. Every one has turned away; all have gone wrong. No one anywhere has kept on doing what is right; not one.

The Lord is right and kind in restoration.

Jer 32:36-43 – “Now therefore thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, concerning this city of which you say, ‘It is given into the hand of the king of Babylon by sword, by famine, and by pestilence’: Behold, I will gather them from all the countries to which I drove them in my anger and my wrath and in great indignation. I will bring them back to this place, and I will make them dwell in safety. And they shall be my people, and I will be their God. I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear me forever, for their own good and the good of their children after them. I will make with them an everlasting covenant, that I will not turn away from doing good to them. And I will put the fear of me in their hearts, that they may not turn from me. I will rejoice in doing them good, and I will plant them in this land in faithfulness, with all my heart and all my soul.

“For thus says the Lord: Just as I have brought all this great disaster upon this people, so I will bring upon them all the good that I promise them. (ESV)

All flesh

Behold!
See!
I am the Lord
I am the God of all flesh
Is anything too hard for me?

I give to Nineveh according to her works.
I give to Jonah, according to his works.
I give to you, Sharon, according to your works.
I give to the world, I give to all, according to their works.

I am good.
I am right.
I am kind.
I am generous.

Just as I have brought all this great disaster upon this people
So I will bring upon them all the good that I promise them.

Vessels of wrath and vessels of mercy.

Rom 9:21-24 – Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honored use and another for dishonorable use? What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory— even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles? (ESV)

Do you know what it is to feel secure even under the Lord God’s discipline?

Ps 65:1-5 – Praise is due to you, O God, in Zion, and to you shall vows be performed. O you who hears prayer, to you shall all flesh come. When iniquities prevail against me, you atone for our transgressions. Blessed is the one you choose and bring near, to dwell in your courts! We shall be satisfied with the goodness of your house, the holiness of your temple! By awesome deeds you answer us with righteousness, O God of our salvation, the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas; (ESV)

I am the God of all flesh.

Praise is due to you, O God
O you who hears prayer
To you shall all flesh come.

When iniquities prevail against me
You atone for our transgressions.

Blessed is the one you choose to bring near, to dwell in your courts
We shall be satisfied
Satisfied with the goodness of your house, the holiness of your temple!

By awesome deeds you answer us with righteousness
O God of our salvation
The hope of all the ends of the earth.

God’s gift poured through one man, Jesus Christ
Generous, life-giving gift
Wonderful life sentence
Setting everything right
Getting us out of all this trouble with sin, separation, and death
Getting us into life!

Ps 145:9 – The Lord is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made. (ESV)

They will know what it is to feel secure and enjoy God’s blessing.

Isa 64:8-9 – But now, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand. Be not so terribly angry, O Lord, and remember not iniquity forever. Behold, please look, we are all your people. (ESV)

O Lord
Our Father
Our potter
We are the clay
We are all the work of your hand

Please look,
We are all your people.

Ps 86:9 – All the nations you have made shall come and worship before you, O Lord, and shall glorify your name. (ESV)

The ones chosen to have and deliver the Lord God’s words and those judged as vile, misguided, selfish, violent enemies who do not yet have the Lord God’s words, we all are the Lord God’s people!

Help me, Lord God! Help me to stop seeing myself as the center of the cosmos, everything revolving around me! Help me see you as the center, Lord God, loving us by revealing yourself to us as you enable us to receive you. Let me have confidence in your mercy for all, even when I don’t see your mercy through my physical eyes in my everyday circumstances.

We are all saved, delivered, protected, healed, made whole by grace, in union with Christ Jesus, the one man who says yes to God.

Let us believe that we are indeed who the Lord God says we are! Let us live in union with Christ Jesus! And with each other.

Interact with the words of Scripture through deep, careful study.

Read the Lord God’s words. Read slowly. Read reflectively. Not just with your mind but with your heart and spirit. Let his words sink in. Ruminate upon his words. Take from them what he wants to give to you.

Meditate. Experience the word of Scripture bodily by moaning, growling, uttering, speaking aloud each word, syllable by syllable. Experience the words of Scripture expressing the longing and desire and hope in the depth of your own soul. Become acquainted with your longing. Anticipate that your soul’s longing will be satisfied, its hunger will be filled with good things, and it will be healed and made complete again. Let the inspired word of God arouse feelings of awe.

Respond by setting your thoughts and emotions aside and let your heart speak to God without words.

Then move beyond logic and reason; move from head to heart to spirit. Contemplate. Sit quietly without thinking, without murmuring. Simply be. Become conscious of your companions. Longing for you. Your longing for them.

Simply rest in God’s words. Listen to God at the deepest level of your inner being. Listen as Love speaks with a still small voice that moves you to silence and an ever-deepening listening in which the Word becomes active and alive in you, gradually transforming you from within.13

2 Cor 13:14 – the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, [is] with you all! Amen. (YLT)

When finished, select just one word or phrase and carry it with you all day, thinking about it, murmuring it, holding it, treasuring it. Let it soak deep into your soul, so it miraculously combines your spirit with God’s Spirit. Tomorrow, meditate on the entire text again. Select the same word or phrase or a different one to carry with you all day, thinking about it, murmuring it, holding it, treasuring it. Do this practice every day. Let God’s Word begin to fill your soul with good things, with life.

I ponder every morsel of wisdom from you, I attentively watch how you’ve done it. I relish everything you’ve told me of life, I won’t forget a word of it. (Ps 119:15-16 MSG)

 

But it is the spirit in man, the breath of the Almighty, that makes him understand. (Job 32:8 ESV)

Ask the Lord God to make you aware of the breath of the Almighty in you. Believe him when he says his breath makes you understand. Desire his breath. Seek his breath. Be cleansed of all that is of self, become detached from all that is of the kingdom of this world as you wait in silence for the breath of the Almighty to awaken you spiritually, to reveal who you really are.

Wait and listen and experience from that place within where deep calls to deep. That place where you discover Being. That place where you find meaning.

Become aware of your breath. The breath of the Almighty in you.

Inhale.
Exhale.

You must rely on the breath of the Almighty, the Spirit of God who lives inside you, to make you understand his words.

With your inhalation draw the words of the Lord God deep within you.

With your exhalation empty yourself of all your own ideas, plans, thoughts, imaginations and words to make room for the words of God to take possession. Open yourself completely to what the Lord God wants to reveal to you about yourself and about him.

Rev 11:15 – Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever.” (ESV)

Inhale: (draw the words of the Lord God deep within you)

“The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord…

Exhale. (empty yourself of self to allow the words of God to take possession)

He shall reign forever and ever.”

Wait, watch, listen, be still, be willing for the Lord God to transform you from within, revealing who you really are, united with the Messiah.

2 Peter 3:18 – But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen. (ESV)

*****

Resources/For deeper study:

1Anoint: NT:5548 <START GREEK>xri/w<END GREEK> chrio (khree’-o); probably akin to NT:5530 through the idea of contact; to smear or rub with oil, i.e. (by implication) to consecrate to an office or religious service: KJV – anoint.

NT:5530 <START GREEK>xra/omai<END GREEK> chraomai (khrah’-om-ahee); middle voice of a primary verb (perhaps rather from NT:5495, to handle); to furnish what is needed; (give an oracle, “graze” [touch slightly], light upon, etc.), i.e. (by implication) to employ or (by extension) to act towards one in a given manner: KJV – entreat, use. Compare NT:5531; NT:5534. (Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006, 2010 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

2Remain united/abide: NT:3306 <START GREEK>me/nw<END GREEK> meno (men’-o); a primary verb; to stay (in a given place, state, relation or expectancy): KJV – abide, continue, dwell, endure, be present, remain, stand, tarry (for),  thine own. (Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006, 2010 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

3Evil: NT:4190 <START GREEK>ponhro/$<END GREEK> poneros (pon-ay-ros’); from a derivative of NT:4192; hurtful, i.e. evil (properly, in effect or influence, and thus differing from NT:2556, which refers rather to essential character, as well as from NT:4550, which indicates degeneracy from original virtue); figuratively, calamitous; also (passively) ill, i.e. diseased; but especially (morally) culpable, i.e. derelict, vicious, facinorous; neuter (singular) mischief, malice, or (plural) guilt; masculine (singular) the devil, or (plural) sinners: KJV – bad, evil, grievous, harm, lewd, malicious, wicked (-ness). See also NT:4191. (Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006, 2010 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

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