Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost
Satan is very busy. Remember – God is in control.
Satan is very busy – ‘going to and fro on the earth…walking up and down on it’. Why is Satan ‘roaming through the earth’? – ‘Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour’(Job 1:7; 1 Peter 5:8). If, like Job, you ‘fear God and turn away from evil’, Satan will make you his target. He will do all that he can to make you stop worshipping God and start cursing Him (Job 1:1, 11). Satan is very powerful – but he can only do what God allows him to do (Job 1:12; 2:6). There is a greater Power than the power of Satan – ‘the Power of God’. When you face Satan’s onslaughts, remember – God is in control. His Power is at work in us to keep us in the way of faith, the way which brings ‘praise and glory and honour’ to Him (1 Peter 1:3-7).
God’s love inspires our loyalty to Him.
God’s love for us inspires our loyalty to Him: ‘Your love is ever before me, and I will walk continually in Your truth’(Psalm 26:3). Loyalty to the Lord involves worshipping Him and walking with Him (Psalm 26:11-12). Walking with God is not easy. There are ‘enemies round about’us (Psalm 26:4-5, 9-10; Psalm 27:2-3, 6, 11-12). What are we to do? We are to worship God: ‘One thing have I asked of the Lord…that I may dwell in the House of the Lord…’(Psalm 27:4). What are we doing when we gather in the Lord’s House for worship? This is what we are doing – ‘Wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage’(Psalm 27:14). Where does our strength come from? It comes from God: ‘The Lord is my light and my salvation… The Lord is the stronghold of my life’. Strong in Him, we say, ‘My heart will not fear… I will be confident’(Psalm 27:1, 3).
Created in God’s image, let’s glorify Him.
We come here to the creation of woman. Her creation is bound up with the creation of man. She is created from man’s ‘rib’ (Genesis 2:21-22). The ‘rib’ is taken from his side, emphasizing that man and woman are to be together, side-by-side, not one in front of the other. The ‘rib’, rather than the head or the feet, emphasizes this togetherness rather than any superiority-inferiority relationship. The ‘rib’ is close to the heart. Woman is close to the heart of man. Both are close to the heart of God. The contrast between humanity and the animals is again clear. Among the animals, there was ‘no suitable helper’ for the man (Genesis 2:20). The animals had been ‘formed out of the ground’ (Genesis 2:19). Humanity has come from ‘the breath of life’ (Genesis 2:7). Like the animals, we come from ‘the dust of the ground’, but there is more: the Breath of God, created in His image to glorify Him!
To God, we pray, “Glorify Your Name in all the earth.”
The Lord is ‘majestic’(Psalm 8:1, 9). He does not remain remote. He does not keep His distance. He show us His greatness, the greatness of His love. We feel forgotten. He remembers us. We feel unloved. He cares for us (Psalm 8:4). We are tempted. He will ‘still the enemy’(Psalm 8:2). We look beyond our creation (Psalm 8:5-8) to our salvation – ‘we see Jesus, who for a little while was made lower than the angels, crowned with glory and honour because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone…that through death He might destroy him who has the power of death, that is, the devil’(Hebrews 2:8-9, 14). This is ‘Majesty’ – ‘Jesus, who died, now glorified, King of all kings’. The Name of the Lord is majestic ‘in all the earth’(Psalm 8:1, 9). To God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – we pray, ‘Glorify Your Name in all the earth’ (Mission Praise. 454,142).
Let’s worship our Lord Jesus Christ. He is great in heavenly glory. He is great in saving grace.
From the heights of heaven and the depths of suffering, ‘God… has spoken to us by His Son’(Hebrews 1:1-2). Jesus Christ is God’s ‘Word’ to us. He is ‘the Word’ who came from heaven: ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God’. He is ‘the Word’ who came to earth: ‘the Word became flesh and dwelt among us…’(John 1:1-14). In heaven, He is worshipped by angels: ‘Let all God’s angels worship Him’(Hebrews 1:6). On earth, ‘He suffered death, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone’(Hebrews 2:9). We see the greatness of Christ in both His heavenly glory and His saving grace. None can compare with Him. He is our Lord. He is our Saviour. We consider all that He has done for us – ‘the nail marks in His hands…’ – and we worship Him – ‘my Lord and my God’(John 20:19-20, 24-28).
As we give ourselves to God, let’s remember this: He has given more. He gave His Son for us.
The Pharisees came to Jesus – ‘to test Him’(Mark 10:2). They asked Him about divorce (Mark 10:2). He spoke to them about marriage (Mark 10:6-9). We need to be positive, well grounded in the basic principles of God’s Word. When the thorny problems come – as they surely will – we will face them with maturity, and not as ‘children, tossed to fro and and carried about with every wind of doctrine’(Ephesians 4:14). Jesus loved the little children (Mark 10:13-16). Do we? Some say ‘No’ to the love of Jesus (Mark 10:21-22). Say ‘Yes’ to Him. We cannot save ourselves. Salvation is God’s doing, not ours (Mark 10:26-27). Don’t let ‘self’ take the place of Christ: ‘we have left everything…’(Mark 10:28). Don’t say, ‘I have given so much to God, done so much for Him, given up so much for Him’. God has given you more! God has done more for you! God has given up more for you! “For God so loved the world that he gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).