Archive for September, 2017

There is a Redeemer

September 3, 2017

Isaiah-48-17

The Verse of the Day for August 3, 2017 comes from Isaiah 48:17(AMP):

This is what the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel says, “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you to profit (benefit), who leads you in the way that you should go.

This verse refers to the concept of “redeemer,” one who exercises the right of redemption. The act of redeeming literally means  “to purchase out, buy up;  buy out of the hands of a person; to set free; to buy off, to secure for oneself or one’s own use; to buy up from the power or possession of any one.” According to the Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible, to be redeemed, is to be forgiven, to be made holy, to be freed, adopted, and reconciled to God.

In Isaiah 43:1 (AMP) we also find another reference:

Israel Redeemed

But now, this is what the Lord, your Creator says, O Jacob, And He who formed you, O Israel, “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you [from captivity]; I have called you by name; you are Mine!

In the Book of Psalms we find references paying a ransom or redemption:

Psalm 111:9 (New Living Translation):

He has paid a full ransom for his people. He has guaranteed his covenant with them forever.What a holy, awe-inspiring name he has!

Psalm 130:7  (NLT)

O Israel, hope in the Lord; for with the Lord there is unfailing love. His redemption overflows.

The Verse of the Day with its reference to “your redeemer” also brings to mind that as believers we have been redeemed or purchased back from hand of the enemy by Christ Jesus, who performs the role of a Kinsman Redeemer. A previous blog entry introduced this prototype.

This heroic figure is foreshadowed in the Book of Ruth, where a male relative assumes the responsibility to act on behalf of a distant family member who is in danger or trouble or in need of vindication.

A scripture memory song describes this Old Testament example:

The Kinsman Redeemer, our wonderful savior.

The Kinsman Redeemer, we know that He is able

To restore and to bless, to turn sadness into joy.

When we read the Word of God and learn the truth,

We see that the Kinsman Redeemer was Boaz who married Ruth.

I recall a series of teachings based on the Book of Ruth and some of the lessons to be learned from that unforgettable love story that reveals the heroic figure of the Kinsman Redeemer. The teachings inspired this poem which the Verse of the Day brought to mind:

A Lesson from the Book of Ruth

For whatever was thus written in former days was written

for our instruction, that by [our steadfast and patient] endurance

and the encouragement [drawn] from the Scriptures we might 

hold fast to and cherish hope.

Romans 15:4

 

In times of crisis when famine engulfs the land,

Those willing to glean, to sacrifice will survive.

Like Ruth, they shall be satisfied and even thrive

To see blessings flow from the Father’s own right hand.

As a Kinsman Redeemer arose to rescue

Two brave women in despair, Naomi and Ruth,

So their example reveals an eternal truth:

What God did then, He does no less for me and you.

Dismissing failures, our Savior ignored each flaw

As he called us by name and set the captives free,

For our redemption canceled any penalty

When he redeemed our souls from the curse of the Law.

Jesus Christ, our Savior and Redeemer, still lives,

And through all eternity he endlessly gives.

The portrait of the family guardian or kinsman redeemer is vividly dramatized in this excerpt from a production by Kenneth Berg.

We conclude as Heidi French Lovett offers a moving, musical expression of “There is a Redeemer”:

Trust: Another definition

September 1, 2017

Psalm 56--4

In the midst of the tempestuous times in which we live, when we are beset on every hand by circumstances that increase our stress levels, we receive strength and comfort by the words of the Psalmist encourage us to trust in God. In thinking about placing our trust in God, I recall an acronym that reveals one way that we can define T-R-U-S-T: Taking Risks Under Stressful Times.

Psalm 56 records David’s response to an extremely stressful situation when he was taken captive by his fierce enemy, the Philistines:

Psalm 56:1-4:

O God, have mercy on me,
for people are hounding me.
My foes attack me all day long.
I am constantly hounded by those who slander me,
and many are boldly attacking me.
But when I am afraid,
I will put my trust in you.
I praise God for what he has promised.
I trust in God, so why should I be afraid?
What can mere mortals do to me?

Additional verses in the Psalms echo the same viewpoint:

Psalm 56:11 (NKJV):

In God I have put my trust; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?

Psalm 118:6 (NKJV)

The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?

These words found in the Psalms resound in Hebrews 13:5-6 where the bold declaration of what God has said precedes the closing question of the passage:

Hebrews 13:5-7 (Amplified Bible)

5Let your character or moral disposition be free from love of money [including greed, avarice, lust, and craving for earthly possessions] and be satisfied with your present [circumstances and with what you have]; for He [God] Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not, [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let [you] down (relax My hold on you)! [Assuredly not!]

6So we take comfort and are encouraged and confidently and boldly say, The Lord is my Helper; I will not be seized with alarm [I will not fear or dread or be terrified]. What can man do to me?

This passage brings to mind the lyrics to the powerful hymn of the Christian Church “How Firm a Foundation.” The last stanza reinforces the message of the passage from Hebrews which echoes the same sentiments of Psalm 56:4 in a particularly profound way:

“The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose
I will not, I will not, desert to his foes;
that soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I’ll never, no never, no never, forsake!”

As believers, we are continually learning to trust in the Lord, particularly during times of great stress. In the midst of the “perilous times” in which we live, times described as “difficult to deal with,” we demonstrate our confidence that God will deliver us, as we look to the Word of God and follow the exhortation to walk

By Faith

Look at the proud; his soul is not straight or right within him,         

but the [rigidly] just and the [uncompromisingly] righteous man shall  

live by his faith and in his faithfulness.

Habakkuk 2:4 [Amplified Bible]

 

The practical aspect of faith is a walk, a lifestyle:

Moment by moment, we walk by faith, not by what we see,

Knowing that this kind of faith propels us to victory.

Even though some may misunderstand and seek to revile,

The shield of faith counters fiery darts of the enemy’s thrust.

We trust God, despite all the hinderer might do or say.

Being fully persuaded, we learn to trust and obey.

We persist and press on: signs of our perpetual trust,

For faith directly reflects our relationship with the Lord.

Walking from victory to victory will not seem odd,

For whatever we desire according to the Word,

We shall have when we pray and put our trust in the Lord.

For true faith comes by hearing and hearing the Word of God.

Ever moving toward the dawning of a new day, the eighth,

We still trust and obey, knowing the just shall live by faith.

We close with a musical medley of trust:  “Trust and Obey” and “Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus.”