Monday, June 1 2020

Psalm 25 (I) – God’s Covenant

The Lord is faithful, upright and full of lovingkindness. He will teach those who are humble His ways and will bless those who keep His covenant.

We have often observed worshippers lift up their hands, perhaps with their eyes closed, as an act of worship. The NKJV and LEB versions translate what David says in verse one and two as ”To you Lord, I lift up my soul. O my God, I trust (in) You”

‘I lift up my soul’ is a figure of speech describing how David in addition to his outstretched hands, offers his soul in total surrender and submission to the Lord in heaven. The phrase does not mean a temporary raising of one’s heart to God, but a permanent setting of the affections on him.

For David, it was ‘all or nothing’. His devotion to the Lord was total and complete and he held nothing back. Should this surprise us? In order for his enemies not to have the opportunity to find a chink in his armour, his commitment to the Lord was one hundred per cent. We have read Jesus’ conditions for following Him have we not? Matthew 16: 24 “Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.’”

David appeals in v 6 and 7 to God’s tender mercies and lovingkindness from of old and to not remember the sins of his youth. The word ‘lovingkindness’ is the Hebrew word hesed. But why does David say ”For they are from of old”?

To give some brief background, the core idea of this term communicates loyalty or faithfulness within a relationship. Thus, hesed is closely related to God’s covenant with His people, Israel. In Exodus 20:6, God says that He lavishes His hesed “for a thousand generations” on those who love Him and obey His commands. This trustworthy, ever-enduring, loyal aspect of God’s covenantal love resonates throughout the Old Testament (Nehemiah 1:5; Daniel 9:4; Jeremiah 32:18)

In the Bible, hesed often describes the mercy and compassion of God. As it relates to the concept of love, hesed is the term which expresses God’s steadfast love and faithfulness to His people as expressed in His covenant with His chosen people. But the covenant was conditional. The overriding condition was obedience on the part of God’s people.

Leviticus 26: 3 ”If you follow my decrees and are careful to obey my commands” I will bless you.

Leviticus 26: 15 ”If you reject my decrees and abhor my laws and fail to carry out all my commands and so violate my covenant,” I will curse you.

So, we see David declare his recollection of God’s covenant promise with His people, in verse 10:
“All the paths of the LORD are mercy and truth,
To such as keep His covenant and His testimonies.

In the context of the covenant terms, what David writes is fully understandable. To him, it was of utmost importance to keep the demands of God’s covenant. Can we identify with what David wrote in verse 10? Do we follow the decrees of our new covenant with Jesus?

With that background underpinning Psalm 25, David, in verses 7, 11 and 18 expresses repentance and confession of sin.

David is openly honest with God and does not deny the existence of his sins. He asks God for forgiveness (“pardon my iniquity, forgive all my sins”), to take them away and “remember not the sins of my youth”

For each of us, perhaps there are those transgressions which overcame us before or even after we came to the Lord, possibly many years ago. Do the memories of those acts still haunt us? Take heart, brother, sister, all of us approach the cross with soiled hands and deceitful hearts. Though long since committed, these acts must not be remembered with such regret and guilt that it paralyzes our service for the Lord.

Going forward, as a body of believers, we need to acknowledge that brothers and sisters, family members (spouses, parents and children, etc.,) in our midst do wrong each other or those outside the community of believers from time to time. As part of restoration, the public and private confession of our sins, asking for, and granting and receipt of forgiveness before accountability partners needs to be a regular Christian practice. When we forget our need for forgiveness, we forget the wonder of God’s grace.

Prayer for Today

Gracious Heavenly Father, thank you for the start of a new month. Thank you for the new lessons You will be teaching us from the book of Psalms. We are grateful for the frank manner in which the authors wrote the Psalms, pouring out their hearts to the Lord

Help us learn how to develop such a close honest relationship with You as well, O Lord. Let there be authenticity and genuineness in our relationship with You, and therefore with all our fellow human beings.

May we keep short accounts with You and confess our sins of commission and omission as soon as the Holy Spirit convicts us of any wrong. Thank You for David’s total commitment to the Lord God; thereby he had full faith that God would vindicate him against his enemies.

We pray for those who continue to be affected adversely by the effects of Covid-19. We pray for families whose breadwinners have lost jobs, businesses and their sources of income. May your grace be upon them. We pray against the evil one who continues to draw believers away from the faith. Help them to trust You Lord, despite tremendously discouraging circumstances. May your Holy Spirit strengthen them to fight the good fight, finish the race and I keep the faith.

In Jesus’ precious Name, Amen.
Ps Cheng Cheung

每日灵粮
01/06/20
作者:张祯祥传道
诗篇二十五(I)-神的约
耶和华是信实的,正直的,充满慈爱的。 他要教导那些谦卑的人,并且要祝福那些遵守他约的人。

当崇拜者举起双手,也许是闭着双眼,我们会认为这是一种崇拜的行为。新国王詹姆斯版本(NKJV)和莱克瑟姆英语圣经(LEB)版本将大卫在第一节和第二节中所说的话翻译为 「主啊,我的心仰望你。我的上帝啊,我信靠你。」

「我的心仰望你」是一种修辞手法,不单描述大卫伸出手,也形容他以完全的交托及顺服将心献给天上的主。这句话的意思不是一个人暂时性地仰望上帝,而是永久性地爱他。

对大卫来说:要么全有,要么全无。 他对主的奉献是完全和完整的,他没有任何保留。 这应该让我们感到惊讶吗? 为了使他的敌人没有机会在他的盔甲上找到一个缝隙,他对主的承诺是百分之百的。 我们已经读过跟随耶稣的条件,不是吗? 马太福音十六章二十四节「于是,耶稣对门徒说:若有人要跟从我,就当舍己,背起他的十字架来跟从我。」

在第六节和第七节,大卫求上帝顾念自古以来就存在的怜悯和慈爱,并不要记念他幼年的罪愆。「怜悯和慈爱」是希伯来词「hesed」。 但为什么大卫说它是「自古以来就存在的」?

简单的背景介绍:这词的核心思想传达了关系中的忠诚或信实。由此可见,「hesed 」贴切地表达神与他子民以色列的盟约。在出埃及记第二十章六节中,神说,他将他的「hesed」 丰盛地赐给那些爱他、听从他的命令的人直到「千代 」。上帝这份可信、永恒、忠诚的盟约之爱也是旧约圣经显然易见的。(尼1:5;但9:4;耶32:18)

在圣经中,hesed经常描述上帝的怜悯和慈悲。 因为它与爱的概念息息相关,hesed 表达上帝对他子民坚定的爱和信实,正如他与选民所立的约。 但盟约是有条件的。最重要的条件是上帝的子民要顺服。

利未记26:3 「你们若遵行我的律例 ,谨守 我的诫命」,我就赐福给你们。
利未记26:15「厌弃我的律例 ,厌恶我的典章 ,不遵行我一切的诫命 ,背弃我的约」我必咒诅你们。

因此,我们看到大卫在第十节中宣告他对上帝与他子民所立约的应许:
「凡遵守他的约和他法度的人 ,耶和华都以慈爱诚实待他 。耶和华的一切道路都是慈爱和真理。」

根据盟约条款的背景,大卫所写的是完全可以理解的。 对他来说,最重要的是遵守上帝的约条。 我们是否也能体会大卫在第10节所写的呢? 我们有没有遵守与耶稣所立的新约?

以上述的背景为基础,大卫在第7,11和18节表达悔改和认罪。

大卫诚实地到上帝面前,不否认自己犯罪。 他请求上帝宽恕(「求你赦免我的罪孽,因为我的罪孽重大。」),也求主 「不要记念我幼年的罪恶和我的过犯」

对我们每个人来说,不管是信主之前或之后,也许有一些罪辖制我们。 记忆中所犯的罪仍然困扰着我们吗?弟兄姐妹, 别灰心,我们所有人都以污秽的手和诡诈的心靠近十架。 虽然早已犯下这些罪,我们不能扩大罪所带来的遗憾和内疚,拦阻我们事奉主。

身为信徒,我们需要承认,弟兄姐妹、家庭成员(配偶,父母和子女等)或非信徒,都会得罪我们。 因此,私下或公开地认罪,请求、给予和接受宽恕,都是基督徒需要实践的。 当我们忘记我们需要宽恕时,我们也就忘记了神奇妙的恩典。

今天的祷告

仁慈的天父,我们为新月的开始感谢你。 感谢你将透过诗篇教导我们新的领悟。 我们感谢作者们以坦率的方式写下诗篇,向主倾诉心声。

哦主,帮助我们学习如何与你建立亲密和坦诚的关系。 让我们实心实意地对你和我们身旁的人。

若圣灵指证我们犯罪,愿我们不长篇大论,乃是立即承认我们的罪和疏忽。 感谢大卫对主的全心全意。他充满信心,相信神会为在敌人面前为他辩护。

我们继续为遭受新冠肺炎影响的人祷告。 我们为养家糊口的家庭祷告,他们失去了工作、生意和收入来源。 愿主你施恩。恶者不断吸引信徒离开信仰,我们为这事祷告。 尽管处在逆境中,求主帮助他们信靠你。 愿圣灵坚固他们打美好的仗,完成当跑的路,持守信仰。

奉主耶稣的名祷告,阿们。

巫惠如译

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