This Psalm is a prayer that Moses prayed to the Lord after God had given Israel the 40 year sentence in the desert for their disobedience. In it, Moses acknowledges that God is the Creator of all things and is still in control of all things. Moses understands that God not only created all things but that God has every right to give and take away as God sees fit. Just as Moses did, we must always acknowledge that whatever God chooses to do is just and right. His answers to our prayers are not always what we want to hear, but we can be sure that He always hears and answers in His own way and in His own time. After we have done that, we can present our requests to Him. Moses wanted God to show that generation and their children His power and glory once again. God chose not to relent until the 40 years had passed. During that time Moses passed away and Joshua became the leader of the children of Israel. It was then that God answered Moses’ prayer in the affirmative. He parted the waters of Jordan and gave the Israelis’ victory after victory against superior foes. He made their efforts successful. He is still doing the same things today in His own way and in His own time. “Ask and you shall receive” has not been removed from the Bible. Continue to walk in obedience, thanking God for His answer and when the time is right, we will see Him work and our children will see His glory.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
After some few days (at least 9, possibly more), the disciples decided to go fishing. They had seen Jesus and knew that He had risen from the grave, but the Holy Spirit had not yet come. For three years they had had a leader and a constant companion. Now, they were like sheep without a shepherd. As most of us do when we don’t know what else to do, we go back to doing what we used to do. Peter, having the strongest personality, seems to have become the temporary leader by default. They fished all night without success. “Busyness” for the sake of being busy is not usually very productive or satisfying.. They were most likely feeling very tired, alone and frustrated. When we have been with Jesus for a while and then we drift away, we have had that feeling. Kinda like you are lost at sea and just bobbing around on the waves. We may not know where we are or which direction to go, but Jesus knows exactly where we are and what we need. We have an advantage the disciples didn’t have at that time. We have God the Holy Spirit living inside of us. Unlike them, we are never alone. If you have these kind of feelings now or any time, just stop and let Jesus wrap you in His arms. He is waiting for us, just as the disciples will discover that He is waiting for them.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do. — James 1:19-21 NIV
Do works save us? Certainly not!
8 For it is by grace you have been saved,through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. — Eph. 2:8, 9
Then why are works important? If we look back at the Great Commission that Jesus gave us in Matt. 28:18-20, we find that He tells us to do more than just get people to confess their sins. Jesus commands us to “go and make disciples.” What is a disciple? Webster defines “disciple” in this way:
someone who accepts and helps to spread the teachings of a famous person
One can be a Christian without actually being a disciple. You can accept Jesus as your Savior and go on with your lifestyle pretty much unchanged (I don’t know how that is possible, but some claim to be able to do so). But a true disciple follows after his chosen leader, uses His life as an example to follow, spreads His doctrines and teachings and encourages others to do the same. Those who are disciples of sect leaders and worldly religions take the idea of being a disciple much more serious than a lot of us Christians. Some of them take it so far as to be considered “militant” in their actions. Their actions are governed by anger and hate and wrong teachings. Our actions are governed by love, but that just means that we have to be kinder in spreading the Gospel of Jesus, not less active or effective. We have a message of perfect love and freedom, which is what the world really desires. We have the Holy Spirit inside us and working with us using the same resurrection power that raised Jesus from the dead. If we are obedient to Jesus’s words that we should “make disciples” then we will “be about our Father’s business”. That requires us to do the same works that Jesus did when He was here on earth. As Christians, we are not called to be spectators but, rather to be participators, in the work. Why did God give us the gift of being saved by grace through faith?
8 For it is by grace you have been saved,through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. – Eph. 2:10 (emphasis mine)
1 It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. 2 Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all. 3 Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law. 4 You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace. 5 For through the Spirit we eagerly await by faith the righteousness for which we hope. 6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.—Gal. 5:1-6 (NIV)
Paul keeps encouraging the new converts to go forward and not turn back to the old law and traditions. Since we now live under grace, we are no longer bound by the laws of the Old Testament. Why? Have they been destroyed or nullified by God? No, definitely not. Why, then? Because, as Jesus Himself said: 17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.—Matt. 5:17 (NIV)
Since Jesus fulfilled the law, we are no longer bound by that law. We live under the covenant of grace. If we believe keeping one point of the law is necessary for salvation, then we are bound by all the points of the law. If it were possible for man to fulfill every point of the law, then Jesus died a useless death on the cross. Our salvation comes only by “grace through faith” in His finished work at Calvary. Does this mean we just accept Jesus and do nothing? No, there is work for us to do, but the work does not add to our salvation. For it is by grace you have been saved,through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.–Eph. 2:8-10 (NIV)
Jesus “paid it all” and we are the beneficiaries of His death.
10 For as many as are of the works of the Law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not abide by all things written in the book of the law, to perform them.” 11 Now that no one is justified by the Law before God is evident; for, “The righteous man shall live by faith.” 12 However, the Law is not of faith; on the contrary, “He who practices them shall live by them.”13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”— 14 in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we would receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.—Gal. 3:10-14 (NASB)
Paul continues to contrast living under the law as opposed to living under grace. For hundreds of years, all the Jews had known was the law plus all the man-made traditions that had been added by the priests and the religious leaders. That now there was a different way to please God was going to take a lot of “unteaching ” and “unlearning”. The law was not given to be a curse, but it became a curse because the flesh could not live up to its standards. It did not require faith, it was a law of works. It was meant to be a teacher showing “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God”. We needed a change, but to have that change, we needed someone to remove us from under the curse of sin and the law. Jesus became a curse and a Redeemer for us. Through the shed blood of Jesus Christ, we can now receive the promise of the blessing of Abraham. We could not become the physical offspring of Abraham, but we could become the Spiritual descendants of the “seed” of Abraham. That “Seed” is Jesus Christ. 13 For the promise that he would be the heir of the world was not to Abraham or to his seed through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. 14 For if those who are of the law are heirs, faith is made void and the promise made of no effect—Romans 4:13,14 (NKJV)
1 You foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified? 2 This is the only thing I want to find out from you: did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith? 3 Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? 4 Did you suffer so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain? 5 So then, does He who provides you with the Spirit and works miracles among you, do it by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith?—Gal. 3:1-5 (NASB)
There were religious leaders and teachers that were trying to convince the new converts that the Gospel was not true. They taught that you must still obey the law to please God. But the Good News is that we are now saved by grace through faith, not by works. Once we have accepted this truth, then the Holy Spirit comes to indwell us and lead us into all truth. The Holy Spirit could not be obtained by works or by obedience to the law. There is only one way to receive the Holy Spirit and that is by hearing the Word of grace and ,by faith, accepting Jesus as our Savior. Adding anything to God’s plan is nothing but vanity and man’s pride. We still have to answer the same question today. Are we saved by God who works miracles among us and provides us with His Holy Spirit? Yes, yes, we are! And once we accept Jesus, is there some great work we must do to be sure make it to heaven? The answer is no, works still cannot obtain our salvation. There are works that we should do, yes, but they do not add to our salvation. Our works are how we store up rewards in heaven. 26 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? 27 For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.-Matt. 16:26,27(NKJV)