Answering the Rebuke of God

Posted: March 8, 2012 in Psalms

Psalms 79-81, “Answering the Rebuke of God”

We’ve seen the psalmists in times of blessing and times of trouble.  Tonight features the latter.  Both northern & southern kingdoms are depicted in times of deep distress.   In Psalm 79, it’s Judah who is overrun by the Babylonians & made desolate because of their sin against God.  In Psalm 80, it’s Israel who have been taken captive by the Assyrians & their sister nation of Judah raises up a lament over them.  What is to be done when God’s hand of discipline & judgment come down in strength?  What do we do when we’re “taken to the woodshed” by the Lord?  Hear Him & obey Him in order that we may be restored!  That’s the plea from the nation in Psalm 80 & that’s God’s desire in Psalm 81.

Psalm 79 (NKJV) – Pleading for Mercy
A Psalm of Asaph.

  • The desolation of Jerusalem (vss. 1-4)

1 O God, the nations have come into Your inheritance; Your holy temple they have defiled; They have laid Jerusalem in heaps.

  • nations” = Gentiles.  This seems to be a reference to the Babylonian invasion of Judah.  Technically, it was only one “nation” that came in, but the term was used to refer to Gentiles in general.
  • Desecration of the people/land (“inheritance”) – the temple – the city.  Every aspect of the Jewish life had been overrun by the Gentile invaders.  The land had been trampled – the temple had been ruined for worship – the capitol city was lying in desolation.
    • Obviously every bit of this was true at the time of the Babylonian invasion, but this is also a true statement regarding the Roman slaughter in 70AD in which the temple was destroyed & the stones thrown down upon each other.
    • It could also look further into the future during the days of the Great Tribulation, in reference to the abomination of desolation in which Antichrist sets himself in the rebuilt temple to be worshipped as God.
  • No matter if this verse is seen as historic or prophetic, there’s no doubt that the Jewish people were suffering greatly.  The question really is: how do we react in the midst of our suffering?  The author doesn’t yet address the reason for their sufferings; he only describes it at this point.  Yet in his description, he’s taking it to the throne of God in prayer.  Don’t miss how it all begins: “O God…”  Of course, it’s not as if the author thinks that God doesn’t actually know the facts of what’s happening – but the author never forgets his position as one of the servants of God.  He (and all of the nation) belonged to God, so he’s taking his complaint to his sovereign King.
    • That’s exactly our response in suffering.  We may not have all of the answers – we may not yet see an end to our trial – but we can always take our requests to God.  He already knows we’re suffering; it’s not as if we’re hiding anything from Him.  As His people, God WANTS us to go to Him in prayer at all times.  Perhaps that’s in times of joyful praise – perhaps it’s in times of bewildered trials.  Either way, we can take our troubles to the feet of our Lord and Savior in prayer, asking for His help.

2 The dead bodies of Your servants— They have given as food for the birds of the heavens, The flesh of Your saints to the beasts of the earth. 3 Their blood they have shed like water all around Jerusalem, And there was no one to bury them.

  • Massive bloodshed – so much so that the bodies could not be buried & the dead served as carrion meat for the scavenger birds.  This was a terrible situation.
  • Notice how the author underscores the people’s relationship with God: “Your servants…Your saints…”  The only basis the writer had to appeal unto God was his relationship with God, and so the writer keeps bringing out that aspect in prayer.  Likewise for us.  We have no right by which we can appeal to God, apart from the relationship we have through Jesus Christ.  Apart from Jesus, we are God’s enemies due to our sin and we have zero right to ask God for anything.  But IN Christ, we are God’s children & heirs of the promise!  IN Christ, we have been bought & washed by the blood of sacrifice, and now we are invited to ask God for His help & grace.

4 We have become a reproach to our neighbors, A scorn and derision to those who are around us.

  • The nations had no respect for the Jews because it seemed that the Jews were abandoned by God.  The people of Israel were supposed to have been a light unto the world, demonstrating the blessings of belonging to God – being a witness unto the world.  Instead, they became a laughing stock & the Gentile nations had less reason to turn to God at all. 
  • Are Christians held in scorn because we are true to our faith, or because we’re acting in opposition to it & God allows us to be disciplined?  Sin affects our ability to witness of God.  Sin affects our credibility as Christians.  When we come to faith in Christ, we are made by the grace of God into new creations – praise the Lord!  But what happens when that new creation cannot be seen by anyone else?  They don’t see the transforming work of Christ in our life.  In response, they mock the gospel because they don’t see the results.  [Personal exp…]
  • Prayer for mercy (vss. 5-12)

5 How long, LORD? Will You be angry forever? Will Your jealousy burn like fire?

  • Good question!  Surely this is one we’ve all asked if we’ve ever experienced the discipline of God.  How long?  How long can this continue?  It’s as if we’ve been put in “time out” from the Lord & it feels as if our prayers are bouncing off the ceiling – as if our worship is dead & our time in the Bible is simply rote.  The good news for New Testament Christians is that we don’t experience the same sort of discipline that the nation of Judah experienced – we are in a different covenant with God, and we always have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit with us.  Yet we STILL can experience the discipline of God.  Husbands who don’t dwell with their wives with understanding can have their prayers hindered (1 Pet 3:7).  God may allow us to experience painful chastening (Heb 12:11).  God may allow us to be turned away from the fellowship of the church & delivered over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh (1 Cor 5:5).  God may allow us to experience the consequences of our actions in order that we would turn back to Him.  BUT the promise is that we CAN turn back to God in repentance!  How long will God be angry with us?  As long as it takes to get us to humble ourselves and repent. 
  • Question: could God be angry forever?  For someone outside of Christ, yes.  God is a consuming fire – His wrath is indeed infinite, which is why hell is a place in which the worm never dies and the fire is never quenched.  (This is one reason that neither the doctrine of purgatory nor the idea of annihilationism match up with the Biblical record.  God’s holy righteousness never relaxes over time – He’s infinitely righteous & thus He will pour out exactly as much wrath as needed…eternal wrath.)
  • Again, notice the basis for the author’s question: the kingdom’s covenant relationship with God.  “LORD” = the covenant name of God.  The author keeps coming back to relationship for good reason: that’s all his hope.  Likewise for us.  Our hope is in our relationship through Christ, or we have no hope at all.

6 Pour out Your wrath on the nations that do not know You, And on the kingdoms that do not call on Your name. 7 For they have devoured Jacob, And laid waste his dwelling place.

  • IOW, “Turn wrath away from us and onto the Gentiles – they deserve it.”  The Babylonians were the ones who killed the Jews by the multitudes & defiled the holy temple, thus they were absolutely deserving of the judgment of God.
  • Yet we deserve it as well!  The only thing that stands between us and the wrath of God is grace.  And praise God for the grace we have received!

8 Oh, do not remember former iniquities against us! Let Your tender mercies come speedily to meet us, For we have been brought very low.

  • Asking for God’s mercy to replace God’s anger.  Let the anger of God be turned to the oppressors, and the mercy of God to come back to His people.
  • Why?  Because the purpose for God’s discipline had been accomplished.  The nation had been humbled – “For we have been brought very low.”  Humility is thought as a character flaw in the eyes of the world, but in the eyes of God, it’s exactly what He wants for us.  Humble yourself in the sight of the Lord & HE will be the one to lift you up. (James 4:10)  When we humble ourselves in sincere repentance, that’s what God wants in order to restore us back to the right relationship with Him.

9 Help us, O God of our salvation, For the glory of Your name; And deliver us, and provide atonement for our sins, For Your name’s sake!

  • The author asks for help – not because they deserve any help from God, but due to the glory of God – for the sake of His name.  This is the essence of grace!  We DON’T deserve the salvation of God.  But because God is so very good & loving & glorious, He extends His grace to us for no other reason because it shows forth His greatness.
  • God is the God of their salvation – even in the situation in which they had not yet been saved.  God had saved them in the past, and the author trusts that God will still yet be the God of their salvation.  In verse 5, he asked “How long,” yet ultimately he knows that God has not & will not abandon His people.  God will always be their salvation.
  • Notice that this is the work of Christ!
    • Jesus is the God of our salvation – this is actually the meaning of His name.
    • Jesus did His work for the glory of God the Father
    • Jesus is our deliverer/rescuer.
    • Jesus made for our atonement
    • Jesus is given the name above every name.

10 Why should the nations say, “Where is their God?” Let there be known among the nations in our sight The avenging of the blood of Your servants which has been shed.

  • The nations had reviled Judah because Judah seemed to be abandoned by God – the prayer is that all the nations would know that God still is Judah’s God…that there would be no doubt.
  • Though the Jews were under the discipline and judgment of God, their blood that was shed still needed to be answered for.  The author rightly prays that God would avenge.

11 Let the groaning of the prisoner come before You; According to the greatness of Your power Preserve those who are appointed to die; 12 And return to our neighbors sevenfold into their bosom Their reproach with which they have reproached You, O Lord.

  • Prayer that in the greatness of God, the nation would see the mercy of God.
  • Prayer that God would exact vengeance upon their enemies.
  • Promise of praise (vs. 13)

13 So we, Your people and sheep of Your pasture, Will give You thanks forever; We will show forth Your praise to all generations.

  • What would be Judah’s response to all of the work of God’s grace and mercy?  Praise!  Praise that they are still the beloved people of God.  Praise that they had been delivered from the enemy & that God’s righteousness had been made known.  Praise that God still cared for them as a Good Shepherd.  The grace of God is worthy of our praise!
  • How long would they give God praise?  Forever!  Not just for their own generation, but they would teach their children the praise of God.
    • Never stop praising the Lord!

 

Psalm 80 (NKJV) – Restore Us
To the Chief Musician. Set to Testimony of Asaph. A Psalm.

  • Hear and save (vss. 1-3)

1 Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, You who lead Joseph like a flock; You who dwell between the cherubim, shine forth! 2 Before Ephraim, Benjamin, and Manasseh, Stir up Your strength, And come and save us!

  • Appealing to the Shepherd – the one who loves for & cares for the sheep.  The one who lays down His life for the sheep.
  • Appealing to the Sovereign – the one who dwells between the angelic creatures on the throne of heaven.  The one who is almighty over every aspect of the universe – the Creator God.
  • Appealing to the Savior – the one who has saved Israel in the past through a mighty demonstration of His strength, and the one who is more than capable of saving them again in their present trial.
  • When God is stirred in His strength, He is unstoppable!  He is the infinite Almighty God!  Who can possibly stand against Him?  What trial is possibly too hard for Him?  What can we not lay at His feet, trusting Him to work in His perfect way?  Nothing!  Our Lord Jesus is the Good Shepherd, Sovereign King, and Savior of the world!

3 Restore us, O God; Cause Your face to shine, And we shall be saved!

  • Refrain.  The idea is that God would bring the people back to the position of blessing and favor.  God’s face would “shine” when His glory is pouring forth – which would be evident if God was looking upon Israel.  Just as Moses spoke with God as a man speaks to His friend face-to-face (and thus Moses’ face glowed as a result), so is the author asking for that same sort of favor and blessing.  He’s praying that God would look upon them & let His countenance shine forth.
    • Seems to be rooted in the Levitical blessing.  Numbers 6:24–26, "(24) “The LORD bless you and keep you; (25) The LORD make His face shine upon you, And be gracious to you; (26) The LORD lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace.” ’" []  When God’s face shines upon us, we are indeed blessed!
  • Notice the certainty.  If God caused His face to shine upon the people, “we shall be saved!”  There’s no doubt.  Whatever the nation is enduring (possibly the Assyrian invasion), if God rises up in action, there’s no question of the result…they would be saved.
  • When God restores us, we are truly restored!  His favor is what saves us – His favor is His grace.
  • How long will You discipline? (vss. 4-7)

4 O LORD God of hosts, How long will You be angry Against the prayer of Your people?

  • Was God ignoring their prayer?  No.  He had something else in mind that He was trying to teach them.  God’s discipline always has a purpose.  As in Psalm 79, there’s a lesson that God was teaching the people through their suffering.  After all, they weren’t in their predicament for no reason – they had apparently sinned against God & God had allowed their enemies to come in overwhelming power (just exactly as God promised would happen when He first made the covenant with Israel).  Because of their sin, God needed the people to come to a place of humility and repentance, and if they did that, then He would act.  His promise to Solomon was that if His people who were called by His name turned from their evil ways & humbled themselves in the sight of God, that God would bring healing & forgiveness (2 Chr 7:14).  Unfortunately, in the case of the northern kingdom, that repentance never took place – though it did in the case of the southern kingdom.
  • God will do what it takes to let us be brought to that place of humility and repentance.  He loves us too much to allow us to continue in sin unchecked.  Just as any parent hates to see his/her children in flagrant disobedience & has to bring discipline in response, so does God do the same with us.

5 You have fed them with the bread of tears, And given them tears to drink in great measure. 6 You have made us a strife to our neighbors, And our enemies laugh among themselves.

  • The extent of God’s discipline – the people had been brought to tears, and were humiliated in the sight of the surrounding nations.
  • The derision of Israel’s enemies was proof of God’s favor being removed.

7 Restore us, O God of hosts; Cause Your face to shine, And we shall be saved!

  • Refrain #2
  • God’s former care & current judgment (vss. 8-13)

8 You have brought a vine out of Egypt; You have cast out the nations, and planted it. 9 You prepared room for it, And caused it to take deep root, And it filled the land.

  • Referring to the exodus, the conquest, and the establishing of the kingdom
  • The “vine” is likely a reference to the nations of Ephraim & Manasseh, the sons of Joseph.  Joseph had been blessed by his father Jacob as a “fruitful bough” (Gen 49:22).  If this psalm was written in response to the Assyrian conquest, then the southern nation is pleading for its northern brothers, saying that God brought the vine out of Egypt just as He promised & the vine of Joseph was just as much a part of the promises as the southern nation.
  • The idea is God’s care for the nation.  Three times the author writes “You” – this was God’s work that He personally accomplished.  This was the nation that God established, the author’s prayer is that God would see the work through. 

10 The hills were covered with its shadow, And the mighty cedars with its boughs. 11 She sent out her boughs to the Sea, And her branches to the River.

  • The extent of blessing the kingdom experienced during the reigns of David and Solomon.  The borders stretched from the Euphrates to the Mediterranean sea.

12 Why have You broken down her hedges, So that all who pass by the way pluck her fruit? 13 The boar out of the woods uproots it, And the wild beast of the field devours it.

  • Not only did God build up the kingdom, God was the one to rip it down.  “Why have You broken down her hedges…”  God was the one to come against them; the Gentile nations were just a tool in the process.  (Can God use pagans for His purposes?  No doubt.)
  • Restore our relationship (vss. 14-19)

14 Return, we beseech You, O God of hosts; Look down from heaven and see, And visit this vine

  • Return” = the exact word for “restore.”  This is the same idea as the refrain, yet from the opposite viewpoint.  In the refrain, the prayer is for God to turn Israel back to Himself; here it’s for God to turn back to Israel.

15 And the vineyard which Your right hand has planted, And the branch that You made strong for Yourself. 16 It is burned with fire, it is cut down; They perish at the rebuke of Your countenance.

  • Back to the analogy of the vine.  The prayer is that God would again care for the vine that He had earlier planted and cultivated.
  • This time, God’s countenance is not bright & loving, but stern and full of rebuke.  There are times that we want God to look upon us (in His love and grace), and there are times in which people want God to look away (in His wrath).  Here’s the good news for every person who has put their faith in Christ: God sees you through the blood of Jesus Christ!  He does not look at you in His wrath because Jesus already satisfied the wrath of God on your behalf.  Thus you can be sure that God looks upon you in His love.
    • Yet that does not mean that God won’t discipline us.  Discipline (when done rightly within a family) is always done in love.  God can look at us in love & still discipline us…and we can be thankful He does!

17 Let Your hand be upon the man of Your right hand, Upon the son of man whom You made strong for Yourself.

  • Not only asking for God to care for the nation, but to care for the king.  Some scholars think this might be a reference to the nation of Benjamin (which is loosely translated “son of the right hand”) considering Benjamin was mentioned in verse 2.  Others think that it’s more likely a reference to the king in the southern kingdom (of the line of David), praying that God would strengthen the king whom God had anointed and bring restoration to the people as a whole.

18 Then we will not turn back from You; Revive us, and we will call upon Your name.

  • Look at the order here: “(1) Revive us, and (2) we will call upon Your name.” IOW, revive us so that we can be restored unto You.  Truly the people can only call upon the name of God when they have been first revived by God.  Repentance starts with the work and the witness of God in our lives.

19 Restore us, O LORD God of hosts; Cause Your face to shine, And we shall be saved!

  • Refrain #3.  How desperately we need the restoration and blessing of God!  And when we experience that through Christ Jesus, we know the salvation of God!

 

Psalm 81 (NKJV) – Listen to God
To the Chief Musician. On An Instrument of Gath. A Psalm of Asaph.

  • Praise the Lord and pay attention (vss. 1-5)

1 Sing aloud to God our strength; Make a joyful shout to the God of Jacob. 2 Raise a song and strike the timbrel, The pleasant harp with the lute.

  • Begins with a call of worship & call to praise.
  • Praise who?  Praise the God who is OUR God.  “our strength…the God of Jacob…”  Again, the people know their relationship in God.  It’s because of God’s strength that they can serve Him – it’s because they had been graciously given the covenant of Jacob that they lived in the land.  Everything they had was due to the fact that God was their God.
    • Likewise with us!  Everything we have is due to the fact that God is OUR God.  Never forget whom it is you serve.  When we consider the greatness and grace of our God, we cannot not help but erupt in praise!
  • Praise Him with what?  Everything!  Voice, timbrel, harp, lute – even the instrument of Gath.  Whatever you have, use it to give our God praise!

3 Blow the trumpet at the time of the New Moon, At the full moon, on our solemn feast day.

  • The trumpet could be used in praise, but the context here is a call to assembly.  The people are being called to attention.
  • Which feast day?  Scholars differ.  Some of the language strongly implies the Passover – other context strongly implies the Feast of Tabernacles.  Whatever it is, the people were assembled to listen to God’s voice.

4 For this is a statute for Israel, A law of the God of Jacob. 5 This He established in Joseph as a testimony, When He went throughout the land of Egypt, Where I heard a language I did not understand.

  • What were they to listen to?  The law of God.  Probably not so much a reference to the 10 Commandments or the Law (Torah) contained in the 5 books of Moses, but rather they were assembling to hear the word of God that was about to be spoken.  God had given (and was about to give) a testimony about Himself, so they needed to listen up.
  • Why mention Egypt?  God had purchased the nation out of Egypt – when the Israelites were enslaved there, they heard languages they didn’t understand.  Yet God took them out of that place, so His voice deserved to be heard as their Redeemer and King.
    • Sometimes Christians have a tendency to take the words of our King & Redeemer for granted.  Please be careful!  Remember what we have been redeemed out of – remember what it is God has done for us through Jesus Christ.  And with THAT mindset, then go back and read the words of God in the Bible for us.  If we do so, we’ll be sure to listen with renewed hearts & ears!
  • God’s past provision (vss. 6-7)

6 “I removed his shoulder from the burden; His hands were freed from the baskets. 7 You called in trouble, and I delivered you; I answered you in the secret place of thunder; I tested you at the waters of Meribah. Selah

  • The speaker changes to that of God & remains this way through the rest of the psalm.  The nation had been called to hear God’s word, and now God speaks.
  • God freed them from slavery.  They had been enslaved to Egypt under Pharaoh (a picture of sin & death) – and now they were free.  This wasn’t due to good luck; this was due to the hand and grace of God!
  • God spoke at Mt. Sinai.  God could have remained silent when He brought them into the wilderness – instead He let them hear His audible voice when He gave the 10 Commandments on Mt. Sinai.  After they begged not to hear His voice & see His glory, then He spoke to Moses & gave them His law.  They had been given an indescribable gift in the word of God – another act of His grace.
  • God tested them in the wilderness.  The location is interesting because elsewhere the waters of Meribah are listed as the place where Israel tested God.  Here, God says that He tested Israel.  It brings to mind God’s utter sovereignty.  Was God taken by surprise by the Hebrew’s grumbling & complaining about the lack of water?  No.  He knew what they were going to do & He knew how He was going to provide.  Yet He allowed them to grumble, giving them the opportunity to trust Him (in which they failed the test) – but just the allowance was another act of grace. 
  • God had continued to show grace to the nation through the centuries, and the people still refused Him & tested Him.  How often we do the same!  God forgives us for the same sins again & again.  No matter how many times we promise never to do the same thing again, we fall right back into old patterns as a dog returning to vomit.  God would call us to repentance!  That we would hear His voice & break the cycle of sin as we walk after Christ.
  • God’s present rebuke (vss. 8-12)

8 “Hear, O My people, and I will admonish you! O Israel, if you will listen to Me!

  • Law #1: Listen to God.  The people could not obey the law of God if they did not listen to God.  They couldn’t know how to love God with their whole heart if they did not pay attention to what God had to say about Himself.  They were supposed to be His people, and yet they did not listen to Him.
  • How do we listen to God today? (1) The Bible.  God has given us His written word – there ought to be no doubt as to what He has to say to us when we pick it up and read it for ourselves.  (2) Prayer.  Too often our prayers are one-sided conversations (which aren’t really “conversations” at all!).  Take the time not only to offer your requests to God, but to respond to what He tells you as He takes you back to His word & takes you to your knees in worship.

9 There shall be no foreign god among you; Nor shall you worship any foreign god.

  • Law #2: Worship God.  This should have been a no-brainer for the people of Israel, yet over and over throughout their history in the kingdom the people raised up Asherah poles and high places and offered worship to false gods such as Baal.  The 1st of the 10 Commandments was that they would have no other gods other than (before) God, and yet they repeatedly broke it.  God again called them to listen & to hear His command that they would love and worship God alone.
  • How often we get enticed by “foreign gods.”  Some new shiny toy comes out from our favorite tech company – some new position of influence is offered to us – some new guru is offering his/her teaching on TV – we get pulled away from the true devoted worship of God to go follow after these things as dogs would chase after squirrels.  We get so easily distracted…be careful!  Follow the Lord Jesus Christ & follow Him alone.

10 I am the LORD your God, Who brought you out of the land of Egypt; Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it.

  • Law #3: Know God & remember Him.  The people had forgotten God.  They honored Him with their lips, but not with their actions.  In doing so, they demonstrated that didn’t have any real clue as to who their God was.  The very God that brought them out of Egypt – the Living God – is whom they were to serve, and yet they forgot His majesty and presence.
  • Likewise we take the person of the Living Lord Jesus for granted.

11 “But My people would not heed My voice, And Israel would have none of Me. 12 So I gave them over to their own stubborn heart, To walk in their own counsels.

  • The problem?  Israel didn’t listen to God, nor did they worship Him, nor did they remember Him.  They rejected Him & thus God gave them over to their sin.
  • Beware!  It’s a terrifying thought that God might give us over to our sin!  Romans 1 is filled with example after example of how God gave the pagans over to their sin & they kept falling deeper and deeper into debauchery and filth.  When God gives us over to our sin, we’re left to face the full consequences of our actions.  An act of a couple of minutes can have effects that last a lifetime.
  • God’s future promise (vss. 13-16)

13 “Oh, that My people would listen to Me, That Israel would walk in My ways!

  • Like a king to his people, or a father to his children, God’s desire is simply that His people would listen to Him & obey Him.  How simple a desire!  Yet how often unfulfilled His request.  Israel did not listen – may His Church do so.
  • Why should Israel hear & obey?  God goes on to say…

14 I would soon subdue their enemies, And turn My hand against their adversaries. 15 The haters of the LORD would pretend submission to Him, But their fate would endure forever. 16 He would have fed them also with the finest of wheat; And with honey from the rock I would have satisfied you.”

  • How would God respond to their attentive ear & obedient actions?
    • Protection: God would subdue the enemies that had come against the nation, and those who rebelled against God would submit.
    • Provision: God would give the nation everything that they needed…not just the barest amount of food, but abundant blessing!  God had given them water from the rock in the wilderness; now He offers even honey from the rock if the people would but respond.
  • What an offer!  What grace!  Yet historically we know that the people turned away yet again.  What about us?  We’re offered no less.  If we would but walk in obedient submission to God, we would experience God gracious provision even in the middle of spiritual attack – we would experience the ongoing fullness of the Holy Spirit in our lives, as if drinking honey from the rock.  We have such abundant promises if we would but hear our Lord & obey His voice.  What an offer of grace! May we respond.

Conclusion:
What will it take for us to listen to the Lord?  What does God need to do, or allow to happen in our lives for us to actually heed His voice & obey Him?  How will we respond to His loving rebuke? 

  • Be humble
  • Be repentant
  • Be attentive
  • Be obedient

Likely there are some here tonight that have been struggling with these very things.  You know God has brought some sort of rebuke into your life – you’ve been buckling under the discipline of God, and yet you still have not yet responded.  Make tonight the night you respond to the Lord your God.  He bought you & He freed you from sin – hear His voice!  Humble yourself today before your gracious King.

Others of you have never known God as your King.  You may have used the term God in the past, but you’ve had no relationship with Him through Jesus.  Know this: you can ONLY have a saving relationship with God when you come through Jesus Christ.  Jesus said that He was the way, the truth, and the life, and no one came to the Father except through Him.  If you want to know the forgiveness and salvation that is available through a relationship with God, you must humble yourself before Jesus Christ, asking Him to be your Lord & King.

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