As I promised – today we start in earnest.

The Song of Songs, which is Solomon's. - Song of Songs 1:1

Song of Songs

At first glance, it seems as though we are looking at the title and author. Well—yes and no.

Check out the word pattern—Song of Songs. Does that remind you of anything? George Frederick Handel used John's words when he wrote his own Song of Songs, the Hallelujah Chorus—King of Kings and Lord of Lords (Revelation 19:6)

King of Kings—the high King of heaven

Lord of Lords—the one Master of all.

Clearly, 'Song of Songs' doesn't say good song. It's more—much more.

This Song isn't a good song and it's not a great song, it's the pinnacle of all songs.

Hey—even if it was Solomon’s best work—and he wrote 1005 songs, (1 Kings 4:32) it would be amazing. (I was impressed when I heard that Fanny Crosby of  “Blessed Assurance” fame wrote 80 hymns.)

NO—this is THE SONG of ALL SONGS. 

An interesting contrast here – just 7 verses before the Song of Songs in another of Solomon’s writings, Ecclesiastes, we have this pattern again:

"Vanity of vanities," says the Preacher, "all is vanity!" - Ecclesiastes 12:8

…which is Solomon’s

So, who is Solomon? You can read up on him on your own. His story is the first 11 chapters of 1 Kings. For our purposes, here is what we need to know.

  • He was the third king of Israel.
  • He was the son of David (of giant killing fame) and Bathsheba (of roof bathing fame)
  • He ruled Israel in its best and most glorious days. He reigned for 40 years of peace and prosperity. Israel extended its borders without a day of war.
  • Oh, did I mention he had 300 wives and 700 concubines?
  • He amassed riches unequaled in history, the stuff of legends and Hollywood extravaganzas.
  • Perhaps most notably, he was given a greater measure of wisdom than any man before or since.

Even as a young man, when given the opportunity to ask the Lord for anything, he didn't choose long life, or riches, or even victory over his enemy. He asked the Lord for the ability to rule his people well—for wisdom.

It was pleasing in the sight of the Lord that Solomon had asked this thing.

God said to him, "Because you have asked this thing and have not asked for yourself long life, nor have asked riches for yourself, nor have you asked for the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself discernment to understand justice, behold, I have done according to your words.

Behold, I have given you a wise and discerning heart, so that there has been no one like you before you, nor shall one like you arise after you. I have also given you what you have not asked, both riches and honor, so that there will not be any among the kings like you all your days.

If you walk in My ways, keeping My statutes and commandments, as your father David walked, then I will prolong your days." - 1 Kings 3:10-14 NASB

And so we embark upon a journey to discover the greatest song ever written by the wisest man who ever lived. Are you ready?

Come back next week and we will take a look at a Kiss that will rock your world.

Thanks so much for reading today.

Ben

photo credit: vlaaDnet via photo pin cc

2

Small Beginnings

David

In the hour right before the sun comes up the Lord often floods my heart with new melodies. Last week when I was watering Papa’s  flocks at the brook, I started working on a new song. I keep parchment and quill with me in the fields. That’s where I get my best ideas for songs. I keep them in the bag with my supper and breakfast.

Honestly, I’m not even sure I can take credit for many of the poems I write. These songs and poems just come to me in the quiet hours of the night watch. I’ll be talking to the LORD about life—you know—like my family—or something scary that happened—and the most beautiful words come to mind. Sometimes the words come with music, and other times the music comes on a different day. I have a whole collection of words that have no music.

I’m working on a new song right now. This is what I have so far:

My heart is steadfast, O God; 
I will sing, I will sing praises, even with my soul. 

Awake, harp and lyre; 
I will awaken the dawn! 

I will give thanks to You, O LORD, among the peoples, 
And I will sing praises to You among the nations. 
For Your lovingkindness is great above the heavens, 
And Your truth reaches to the skies. 

Be exalted, O God, above the heavens, 
And Your glory above all the earth. 

Sometimes the music comes in the last hour before dawn. It’s really hard to stay awake waiting for the sun to rise, especially during those long winter nights. That’s when I take out my lyre and start playing with tunes and rhythms and the LORD gives me new melodies. That’s how it happened this morning.

As I played this new tune on my lyre, over and over again, fitting in the words and fiddling with the rhythm, something caught my eye. By now it was the middle of the morning.

This time of year I like to keep the flocks up in the north fields, between my papa’s house in Bethlehem and the city of the king, Jerusalem. As I sat with my back to an old olive tree on the hillside facing the house, I noticed a procession heading down the road, coming out of Jerusalem. It was too far away for me to see who it was, or even how many were in their party. But it seemed like something important.

It looked like they were headed toward the center of Bethlehem. They marched past the gate that leads to my house and kept on going toward town.

I went back to my strumming, but I couldn’t help wondering what was going on down there. I’ve seen lots of parades and processions heading toward Jerusalem, but not many headed to my little town. Nothing ever happens in Bethlehem. It's the most boring town in all Israel.

It wasn’t long before I saw a runner heading from the direction of town toward my father’s house. From where I sat, I could see him waiting at the front door.

I was getting more and more curious. Did this have anything to do with the group that headed into town? Why did they want my father?

What happened next seemed even stranger. All my brothers gathered around this runner. First one came out of the house, then another. Next, two came from the shed behind the house where father keeps his tools. The other three came down from the barn. They must have been milking. Soon I could count all seven of my brothers, and Papa following this stranger back toward the center of Bethlehem. A few minutes later, Mama followed, hurrying to catch up.

This week is the first time all of us have been together since Passover. My three oldest brothers just returned from the recent battle with Amalek. They bring home such wonderful stories. Mama doesn’t like it when they tell stories of the war at the dinner table, but I sure do. Last night was the best yet. While we sat around after dinner, my brother Shammah, told us what happened after they clobbered Amalek. Samuel the prophet took a sword and killed their king right in front of the whole army.

“He seemed angry with King Saul,” Shammah told us. “From where we were standing you couldn’t hear much of what was going on, but Samuel looked furious. He was pointing and shouting. Then King Saul fell to his knees. It looked like he was pleading with the old prophet. The next thing I knew, Samuel took Saul’s sword, turned and started walking toward the enemy king.”

“He cut him in pieces before our eyes. It was amazing,” Eliab added. He’s the eldest. He’s not a storyteller himself but loves to throw in some bits when Shammah's talking.

That was when Mama realized I was still in the room. “Don’t you have some sheep to tend?” she said to me. Then to my brothers, she said, “Don’t tell these horrid stories in front of your little brother.”

That’s when I blurted, “I'm not just a little brother. I’m fourteen and a man now, too. I killed a lion last week.”

Mama looked shocked. “You what?”

Shammah laughed, mocking me. “Sure you did, David. Are you sure you weren’t dreaming under that old olive tree again?”

“I did,” I said. “I was out in the fields three days ago when a lion came and took a lamb from the flock. I went out after him and attacked him, and rescued it from his mouth. When he rose up against me, I grabbed him by his beard and I struck him and I killed him.”

Eliab was laughing now, too. “David, get back to your lyre and your little sheep choir. Leave the fighting to us men.”

“Boys,” my mother said with her hands on her hips, fists clenched, “you leave little Davy alone.” Then she turned to me, wagging her finger, “David,” she scolded, “stop telling tales.”

“Maaamaaa,” I whined, “please don’t call me ‘little Davy,’ you know I hate that,” I replied. “And I’m not telling tales. A great lion came across the eastern fields, jumped the fence and went right for the lamb. It was the lamb that was just born three weeks ago.

“There was a bear that tried to attack the flock when I had them down at the brook a few weeks ago. I killed him, too, with my sling. It only took three stones.”

Now all my brothers we groaning and shaking their heads.

“David,” Papa jumped in, “get out to your sheep before your brothers try to take you apart.”

It’s so frustrating. Just because I’m the youngest, they don’t believe anything I tell them. They don’t know how dangerous it can be out here, and how the Lord comes to my side in every kind of trouble.

As I pondered last night's conversation, time passed. I started wondering what was happening in town. It seems like I miss everything while I sit out in the fields tending my father's sheep. My big brothers get in on all the action.

I went back to my tune, but before I had gotten all the way through it, I saw something out of the corner of my eye. It was that runner again. He headed from the house up toward me.

As he approached, he called out, “Are you, David?”

“What?—Uhh—Yes—I’m David—Yes,” I said, a bit nervously.

“Come with me,” he said as he turned back toward town.

“Why?” I called to him but I don’t think he even heard me. He was on the move.

I tucked my lyre back in its satchel and leaned it against the olive tree. I had to run to catch him.

“What’s going on?—Why do you need me?—Who's in town?”

“Just come,” was his only answer.

As we approached the center of Bethlehem, I realized that everyone was there, men and women. The whole town filled the square. In the center of the crowd stood the old prophet, Samuel. I’ve seen him a few times in Jerusalem at the tabernacle during Passover. I noticed smoke rising from where the south road leaves town. They built an altar and had an ox tied nearby.

Then I saw my brothers standing in a line from eldest to youngest facing Samuel. I headed over toward my brothers. Just then, Papa, who was standing with the prophet, called to me.

"David, join us over here,” he said.

I turned into a statue. For a few seconds, I couldn’t move at all. Why did I have to go out into the center of everything? My brother Abinadab gave me a nudge and I turned and slowly walked toward them, not sure what to expect.

As soon as I got to them, the prophet looked into my eyes. He studied me for what felt like an hour. Then he said to my father, “This is the one.” Without breaking his gaze he said, “Get on your knees, son.”

I could hear a few of my brothers take in their breath. My mother was crying. I was still not sure what was going on, but I knelt down before Samuel.

“Papa, what’s going on?” I asked.

He looked at me with a strange smile on his face. It was the kind of look he gave me when I read him one of my poems—like he was proud of me.

“Go ahead and kneel, David, it’s going to be alright,” he assured me.

I smelled the oil before I felt it. Samuel poured his horn of oil out over my head. It ran down my cheeks and between my eyes, then down my shoulders and over all my clothes. As the oil poured out, I sensed the Spirit of the Lord filling me. I’ve known the Spirit’s touch before, but never like this. Like a flood, peace and confidence filled every part of me.

I looked up at Samuel and asked, “What have you done?”

“The Lord has chosen you to replace Saul as king over all Israel,” he answered.

“Replace Saul? King? But I’m just a boy,” I said.

“No son, today you are a king,” Samuel said. “And now we must offer a sacrifice to the Lord."

I didn’t know what to say, but then I remembered the song I’d been working on all morning. As we walked over to where Samuel was going to offer a sacrifice, I started singing:

My heart is steadfast, O God; 
I will sing, I will sing praises, even with my soul. 

Awake, harp and lyre; 
I will awaken the dawn! 

I will give thanks to You, O LORD, among the peoples, 
And I will sing praises to You among the nations. 
For Your lovingkindness is great above the heavens, 
And Your truth reaches to the skies. 

Be exalted, O God, above the heavens, 
And Your glory above all the earth. 

Those around me picked up the last two lines and began to sing with me as we gathered around the altar.

Be exalted, O God, above the heavens, 
And Your glory above all the earth. 

I don’t understand how this can be. Saul is the king, and I’m just a shepherd boy. He leads thousands of men, I lead a few sheep. I’m just a kid from a tiny town. How will the Lord fulfill this promise?

~~~

To read the original story, see 1 Samuel 16:1-13, Psalm 108:1-5,
and 1 Samuel 17:34-35.

Copyright - Benjamin Nelson - 2016

Encounters With Jesus - Available Now
Encounters With Jesus - Available Now

If you enjoyed this story you can find forty more in my book Encounters With Jesus. It takes the reader from Christ's conception to His resurrection through the eyes of dozens who were touched by His ministry.

You can get your copy today in paperback or kindle on Amazon.

Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers. And the Spirit of the LORD rushed upon David from that day forward. And Samuel rose up and went to Ramah. - 1 Samuel 16:13 ESV

Aside from a couple mentions in the book of Ruth, this is the first time we meet David in God’s Word. As I read the account in the ESV, the sentence in the middle of the verse really struck me.

“And the Spirit of the LORD rushed upon David from that day forward.”

It got me wondering about the Hebrew word translated “rushed upon” and how it was used elsewhere.

First I looked at other translations of this same verse and found:

and the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward- KJV

and the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon David from that day forward - AMP

From that day on, the Spirit of Adonai would fall upon David with power - CJV

the Spirit of the Lord took control of David and stayed with him from then on - CEV

From that day on, the Lord’s Spirit entered David with power. - ICB

and the Spirit of the LORD prospered David from that day forward. - JUB

and the Spirit of Jehovah came upon him and gave him great power from that day onward. - TLB

The Spirit of God entered David like a rush of wind, God vitally empowering him for the rest of his life. MSG

and the Spirit of the Lord was directed into David from that day forth - WYC

and prosper over David doth the Spirit of Jehovah from that day and onwards - YLT

Next, I found that this word - tsalach  - is most often translated as “prospered” or “prosperous.” Often it’s translated “success” or some derivative thereof.

While we see times in the life of David when the Spirit comes upon him, like when he is playing the harp for the foul spirited King Saul, by and large, David’s life is marked by a general prosperity.

Don’t get me wrong—time and time again, he finds himself up against a wall (literally) or trapped in a cave, or besieged in his own palace. But as he sets his eyes to seeking the face of the Lord, the Lord brings success.

Sometimes, as with the lion and the bear and the giant, it does seem like mighty power. But there are times when it looks more like wisdom beyond his years, like when he spares his adversary’s life. Other times it looks like just plain courage.

Did you know that the anointing that was on David, King of Israel, is available to you? Do you realize that God wants to anoint you in such a way that the Spirit of the Lord will “rush on” you “from this day forward” too?

It may not mean that all your days will be peachy—far from it. But the Lord has promised that through all your circumstances He will take all the ugly and all the good and create your ultimate prosperity of body, soul, and spirit.

WOW - that’s good news.

If God is for us—who can be against us?

Ben NelsonThanks for stopping by.

I hope this little word study blesses your day.

See you again soon,

Ben

Thanks to BibleGateway.com for the translations. You can see more and figure out what each translation is here.

And thanks to http://blb.sc/005F2OBlueLetterBible.org for the definitions and word count info.

When I was younger my family went every year to hear the wonderful oratorio Messiah by GF Handel. Even today as I was listening in the car it brought me to tears at points.

There is much credit due the wonderful music, but at the heart of this work is the text which is directly from the Word of God. I wanted to share it with you. No Rush, but sometime in the upcoming days you should sit down and just read through it (or find a copy and listen while reading the words so you don't miss the breath of God on this wonderful piece.

BenHeadshotMerry Christmas

Ben

=============================

Messiah (HWV 56)[1] is an English-language oratorio composed in 1741 by George Frideric Handel, with a scriptural text compiled by Charles Jennensfrom the King James Bible, and from the Psalms included with the Book of Common Prayer (which are worded slightly differently from their King James counterparts). It was first performed in Dublin on 13 April 1742, and received its London premiere nearly a year later. After an initially modest public reception, the oratorio gained in popularity, eventually becoming one of the best-known and most frequently performed choral works in Western music.[n 1] (Wikipdeia)

To make it a little easier to follow I put the names of the songs in bold followed by the scripture reference which was supplied by the source listed below, followed by the text of the scripture printed out in the quotes boxes.

Lyric Source - http://www.worshipmap.com/lyrics/messiahtext.html

Handel's Messiah
George Frederic Handel (1695-1759)

Part I

(1) Overture

(2) Comfort Ye

Isaiah 40:1-3

1. Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. 2. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned. . . .

3. The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.

(3) Every Valley

Isaiah 40:4

4.Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill made low, the crooked straight, and the rough places plain.

(4) And the Glory of the Lord

Isaiah 40:5

5. And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together:for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.

(5) Thus saith the Lord

Haggai 2:6,7

6. Thus saith the Lord of Hosts; Yet once, a little while and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land; 7. And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come

Malachi 3:1

1. The Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to His temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in:Behold, He shall come, saith the Lord of Hosts.

(6) But who may abide the Day of His Coming?

Malachi 3:2

2. But who may abide the day of His coming? and who shall stand when He appeareth? For He is like a refiner's fire.

(7) And He shall Purify

Malachi 3:3

3. And He shall purify the sons of Levi. . . that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.

(8) Behold A Virgin Shall Conceive

Isaiah 7:14 (Matthew 1:23)

Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a Son, and shall call his name EMMANUEL, God with us.

(9) O thou that tellest good tidings to Zion

Isaiah 40:9

9. O thou that tellest good tidings to Zion, get thee up into the high mountain; O thou that tellest good tidings to Jerusalem, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, and be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God!

Isaiah 60:1

1. Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.

(10) For behold, darkness shall cover the earth

Isaiah 60:2,3

2. For, behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people; but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and His glory shall be seen upon thee. 3. And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.

(11) The people that walked in darkness

Isaiah 9:2 (Matthew 3:16)

2. The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: and they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.

(12) For unto Us a Child is born

Isaiah 9:6

6. For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.

(13) Pastoral Symphony

(14) There were shepherds abiding in the field

Luke 2:8

8. There were shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flocks by night.

Luke 2:9

9. And lo! the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

(15) And the Angel said unto them

Luke 2:10,11

10. And the angel said unto them, Fear not; for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

(16) And suddenly there was with the Angel

Luke 2:13

13. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

(17) Glory to God

Luke 2:14

14. Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

(18) Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion

Zechariah 9:9,10 (Matthew 21:5)

9. Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee. He is the righteous Savior. . 10. . . And he shall speak peace unto the heathen.

(19) Then shall the eyes of the blind

Isaiah 35:5,6

5. Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. 6. Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb shall sing.

(20) He shall feed his flock like a shepherd

Isaiah 40:11

11. He shall feed his flock like a shepherd; and he shall gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.

Matthew 11:28, 29

28. Come unto [Him], all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and [He shall]give you rest. 29. Take [his] yoke upon you, and learn of [Him]; for [he is] meek and lowly of heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

(21) His yoke is easy

Matthew 11:30

30. [His] yoke is easy, and [his]burden is light.

Part II

(22) Behold the lamb of God

John 1:29

29.Behold the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sins of the world.

(23) He was despised

Isaiah 53:3

3. He is despised and rejected of men: a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief. . . Isaiah 50:6 [He]gave [His] back to the smiters, and [His] cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: [He] hid not [His] face from shame and spitting.

(24) Surely He hath borne our griefs

Isaiah 53:4,5

4. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows. . . . 5. . . He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities:the chastisement of our peace was upon him,

(25) And with His stripes we are healed

Isaiah 53:5b

5. and with His stripes we are healed

(26) All we like sheep have gone astray

Isaiah 53:6

6. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

(27) All they that see him laugh him to scorn

Psalm 22:7

7. All they that see [him]laugh [him] to scorn: they shoot out their lips, they shake their heads, saying:

(28) He trusted in God

Psalm 22:8 (Matthew 27:43)

8. He trusted [in God] that he would deliver him:let him deliver him, if he delight in him.

(29) Thy rebuke hath broken His heart

Psalm 69:20

20. [Thy] rebuke hath broken [his] heart; [He is] full of heaviness. [He]looked for some to have pity [on Him], but there was none; neither found [He] any to comfort [Him].

(30) Behold, and see if there be any sorrow

Lamentations 1:12

12. Behold, and see if there be any sorrow like unto [his] sorrow. . .

(31) He was cut off out of the land of the living

Isaiah 53:8b

8. he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of [Thy] people was He stricken.

(32) But Thou didst not leave His soul in hell

Psalm 16:10 (Acts 2:27)

10. [But] thou [didst] not leave [his] soul in hell; neither [didst]thou suffer Thy Holy One to see corruption.

(33) Lift up your heads, O ye gates

Psalm 24:7-10

7. Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of Glory shall come in. 8. Who is the King of Glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle. 9. Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of Glory shall come in. 10. Who is the King of Glory? The Lord of Hosts, He is the King of Glory.

(34) Unto which of the angels said He at any time

Hebrews 1:5 (Psalm 2:7)

5. For unto which of the angels said He at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee?

(35) Let all the angels of God worship Him

Hebrews 1:6b

6. "Let all the angels of God worship Him."

(36) Thou art gone up on high

Psalm 68:18 (Ephesians 4:8)

18. Thou art gone up on high, Thou hast led captivity captive, and received gifts for men; yea, even for Thine enemies, that the Lord God might dwell among them.

(37) The Lord gave the word

Psalm 68:11

11. The Lord gave the word: great was the company of [the preachers].

(38) How beautiful are the feet

Romans 10:15 (Isaiah 52:7)

15. How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

(39) Their sound is gone out

Romans 10:18 (Psalm 19:4)

18. their sound is gone out into all lands, and their words unto the ends of the world.

(40) Why do the nations so furiously rage together?

Psalm 2:1,2 (Acts 4:25-26)

1. Why do the heathen rage, and why do the people imagine a vain thing? 2. The kings of the earth rise up, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against His Anointed,

(41) Let us break their bonds asunder

Psalm 2:3

3. Let us break their bonds asunder, and cast away their yokes from us.

(42) He that dwelleth in heaven

Psalm 2:4

4. He that dwelleth in the heavens shall laugh them to scorn; the Lord shall have them in derision.

(43) Thou shalt break them

Psalm 2:9

9. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; Thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.

(44) Hallelujah

Revelation 19:6

6. Hallelujah! for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. Revelation 11:15 15. . . the kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ: and He shall reign for ever and ever. Revelation 19:16 16. . . . KING OF KINGS, LORD OF LORDS.

Part III

(45) I know that my redeemer liveth

Job 19:25, 26

25. I know that my redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand on the latter day upon the earth: 26. And though worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God.

1Corinthians 15:20

20. [For] now is Christ risen from the dead. . . the firstfruits of them that [sleep].

(46) Since by man came death

1Corinthians 15:21,22

21. Since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. 22. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

(47) Behold I tell you a mystery

1Corinthians 15:51,52

51. Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep; but we shall all be changed, 52. In a moment, in a twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet;

(48) The trumpet shall sound

1Corinthians 15:52b-53

52. the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.

(49) Then shall be brought to pass

1Corinthians 15:54b (Isaiah 25:8)

54. then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, 'Death is swallowed up in victory.'

(50) O death where is thy sting?

1Corinthians 15:55-56 (Hosea 13:14)

55. O death, where is thy sting? O grave where is thy victory? 56. The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.

(51) But thanks be to God

1 Corinthians 15:57

57. But thanks be to God, who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

(52) If God be for us

Romans 8:31, 33, 34

31. If God be for us, who can be against us? 33. Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth. 34. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is at the right hand of God, who makes intercession for us.

(53) Worthy is the Lamb

Revelation 5:12, 13

12. Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. 13. . . . Blessing, and honour, glory and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.      Amen.

 

17

Bread!

Of late I've been reading in the ESV (English Standard Version) - kind of kicking the tires. I am, in fact, an old dog, but I do like a new trick now and then.

I was reading in Mark this morning and came across this verse:

how he entered the house of God, in the time of Abiathar the high priest, and ate the bread of the Presence, which it is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and also gave it to those who were with him?" - Mark 2:26 ESV

The old KJV (which I still love) speaks of the 'Shewbread' here. In the NASB, my current normal, it’s call the 'consecrated bread.' The story is pointing back to the day David went into the tabernacle and he and his men ate of the bread in the temple as it says clearly in the text.

What caught my attention was this translation - bread of the presence.

That just stirs me up. It makes me think of His name “Emannuel - God with us!” Where the bread is, there the presence is.

Jesus said,

Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. - John 6:35 ESV

Or how about this,

And he answered, "It is not right to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs." - Matthew 15:26 ESV

I have preached for years that in the story of the Greek woman in Matthew 15 that healing is the children’s bread - but in reality JESUS is the children’s bread. [Tweet This] He is the bread of life - the BREAD OF THE PRESENCE.

Let’s have communion!

Get yourself a piece of bread - go ahead - I’ll wait.

Got it?

This is the bread of the presence of Jesus. Jesus in the flesh is a demonstration of the Father’s desire to be with us and in us.

As you take this bread will you say YES to Jesus? (Ok - Eat it.)

Yes Lord, I want Your presence in my life today.

Amen

Ben NelsonThanks for coming by.

Walk with Jesus today.

Ben

4

It’s another red letter day here, and I have a really big thought for you today.

But He said to them, "Have you not read what David did when he became hungry, he and his companions, how he entered the house of God, and they ate the consecrated bread, which was not lawful for him to eat nor for those with him, but for the priests alone? - Matthew 12:3-4 NASB

David stormed the gates of the tabernacle and took what he needed. We have the right to "enter into the house of God" and take what is not commonly taken. The Pharisees will condemn it as greedy, or presumptuous, but God is welcoming us to use the resources he has stored up for us.

What treasures of the temple are you in need of? Is there food on the table of the Lord that you need access to? The crumbs from that table cured a woman’s demonized daughter. Do you need cleansing in that wonderful basin? Perhaps you just want to lay something on the altar and let it die.

Or perhaps your business is further in.

Perhaps you long to stand before the Father and plead for help, for grace, for mercy. [Tweet This]

Let’s storm the throne room today!

Ben NelsonBen

Here we are back that the pool of Bethesda and we hear one of the saddest statements.

Sir, I have no man… ~ John 5:7

My first reaction is “get hold of your self man,” “suck it up,” “quit your whining.”

Then I remember how David prayed in the cave.

(Maskil of David, when he was in the cave. A Prayer.)

I cry aloud with my voice to the LORD;
I make supplication with my voice to the LORD.
I pour out my complaint before Him;
I declare my trouble before Him.
When my spirit was overwhelmed within me,
Thou didst know my path.
In the way where I walk
They have hidden a trap for me.
Look to the right and see;
For there is no one who regards me;
There is no escape for me;
No one cares for my soul.

Psalm 142:1-3

David was honest about how he felt when he prayed, and this did not offend God. God commands that we love Him. He does not command that we feel good about everything that passes through our life, nor that we keep it all to our selves.

God has no problem when we cry out to Him with what feels like hopelessness.

Back in Bethesda, this is not our friend’s first visit to the pool. It sounds like he has been coming, perhaps for years, perhaps for decades. I don’t know how long he had been alone, but he is alone now.

I have no man.

No man cares for my soul

There is no one who regards me

It reminds me of another man:

He has no stately form or majesty
That we should look upon Him,
Nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him.
He was despised and forsaken of men,
A man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief;
And like one from whom men hide their face,
He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.

Isaiah 53:2-3

Jesus gets it.

Jesus steps in.

Jesus heals him.

Jesus restores his dignity.

Man I love Jesus! [Tweet This]

Ben NelsonSee you again soon

Ben

---

This post originally ran last August, but it touched me again this morning.

5

Messiah Score

This work of music and scripture moves me every time I listen to it. The words come directly from the scriptures and tell the wonderful story of the incarnation of the Word of God, and walk through His death and resurrection.

I hope over these next few days you will take a bit of time and look over these words and let them minster to your spirit. I am considering interspersing them with the opening of presents tomorrow as we celebrate with our family.

May God bless each of you as you turn your heart toward Him.

Ben NelsonMerry Christmas

Ben

=============================

Messiah (HWV 56)[1] is an English-language oratorio composed in 1741 by George Frideric Handel, with a scriptural text compiled by Charles Jennensfrom the King James Bible, and from the Psalms included with the Book of Common Prayer (which are worded slightly differently from their King James counterparts). It was first performed in Dublin on 13 April 1742, and received its London premiere nearly a year later. After an initially modest public reception, the oratorio gained in popularity, eventually becoming one of the best-known and most frequently performed choral works in Western music.[n 1] (Wikipdeia)

To make it a little easier to follow I put the names of the songs in bold followed by the scripture reference which was supplied by the source listed below, followed by the text of the scripture printed out in the quotes boxes.

Lyric Source - http://www.worshipmap.com/lyrics/messiahtext.html

Messiah

George Frederic Handel (1695-1759)

Part I

(1) Overture

(2) Comfort Ye

Isaiah 40:1-3

1. Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. 2. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned. . . .

3. The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.

(3) Every Valley

Isaiah 40:4

4.Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill made low, the crooked straight, and the rough places plain.

(4) And the Glory of the Lord

Isaiah 40:5

5. And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together:for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.

(5) Thus saith the Lord

Haggai 2:6,7

6. Thus saith the Lord of Hosts; Yet once, a little while and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land; 7. And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come

Malachi 3:1

1. The Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to His temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in:Behold, He shall come, saith the Lord of Hosts.

(6) But who may abide the Day of His Coming?

Malachi 3:2

2. But who may abide the day of His coming? and who shall stand when He appeareth? For He is like a refiner's fire.

(7) And He shall Purify

Malachi 3:3

3. And He shall purify the sons of Levi. . . that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.

(8) Behold A Virgin Shall Conceive

Isaiah 7:14 (Matthew 1:23)

Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a Son, and shall call his name EMMANUEL, God with us.

(9) O thou that tellest good tidings to Zion

Isaiah 40:9

9. O thou that tellest good tidings to Zion, get thee up into the high mountain; O thou that tellest good tidings to Jerusalem, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, and be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God!

Isaiah 60:1

1. Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.

(10) For behold, darkness shall cover the earth

Isaiah 60:2,3

2. For, behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people; but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and His glory shall be seen upon thee. 3. And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.

(11) The people that walked in darkness

Isaiah 9:2 (Matthew 3:16)

2. The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: and they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.

(12) For unto Us a Child is born

Isaiah 9:6

6. For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.

(13) Pastoral Symphony

(14) There were shepherds abiding in the field

Luke 2:8

8. There were shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flocks by night.

Luke 2:9

9. And lo! the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

(15) And the Angel said unto them

Luke 2:10,11

10. And the angel said unto them, Fear not; for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

(16) And suddenly there was with the Angel

Luke 2:13

13. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

(17) Glory to God

Luke 2:14

14. Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

(18) Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion

Zechariah 9:9,10 (Matthew 21:5)

9. Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee. He is the righteous Savior. . 10. . . And he shall speak peace unto the heathen.

(19) Then shall the eyes of the blind

Isaiah 35:5,6

5. Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. 6. Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb shall sing.

(20) He shall feed his flock like a shepherd

Isaiah 40:11

11. He shall feed his flock like a shepherd; and he shall gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.

Matthew 11:28, 29

28. Come unto [Him], all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and [He shall]give you rest. 29. Take [his] yoke upon you, and learn of [Him]; for [he is] meek and lowly of heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

(21) His yoke is easy

Matthew 11:30

30. [His] yoke is easy, and [his]burden is light.

Part II

(22) Behold the lamb of God

John 1:29

29.Behold the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sins of the world.

(23) He was despised

Isaiah 53:3

3. He is despised and rejected of men: a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief. . . Isaiah 50:6 [He]gave [His] back to the smiters, and [His] cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: [He] hid not [His] face from shame and spitting.

(24) Surely He hath borne our griefs

Isaiah 53:4,5

4. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows. . . . 5. . . He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities:the chastisement of our peace was upon him,

(25) And with His stripes we are healed

Isaiah 53:5b

5. and with His stripes we are healed

(26) All we like sheep have gone astray

Isaiah 53:6

6. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

(27) All they that see him laugh him to scorn

Psalm 22:7

7. All they that see [him]laugh [him] to scorn: they shoot out their lips, they shake their heads, saying:

(28) He trusted in God

Psalm 22:8 (Matthew 27:43)

8. He trusted [in God] that he would deliver him:let him deliver him, if he delight in him.

(29) Thy rebuke hath broken His heart

Psalm 69:20

20. [Thy] rebuke hath broken [his] heart; [He is] full of heaviness. [He]looked for some to have pity [on Him], but there was none; neither found [He] any to comfort [Him].

(30) Behold, and see if there be any sorrow

Lamentations 1:12

12. Behold, and see if there be any sorrow like unto [his] sorrow. . .

(31) He was cut off out of the land of the living

Isaiah 53:8b

8. he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of [Thy] people was He stricken.

(32) But Thou didst not leave His soul in hell

Psalm 16:10 (Acts 2:27)

10. [But] thou [didst] not leave [his] soul in hell; neither [didst]thou suffer Thy Holy One to see corruption.

(33) Lift up your heads, O ye gates

Psalm 24:7-10

7. Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of Glory shall come in. 8. Who is the King of Glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle. 9. Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of Glory shall come in. 10. Who is the King of Glory? The Lord of Hosts, He is the King of Glory.

(34) Unto which of the angels said He at any time

Hebrews 1:5 (Psalm 2:7)

5. For unto which of the angels said He at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee?

(35) Let all the angels of God worship Him

Hebrews 1:6b

6. "Let all the angels of God worship Him."

(36) Thou art gone up on high

Psalm 68:18 (Ephesians 4:8)

18. Thou art gone up on high, Thou hast led captivity captive, and received gifts for men; yea, even for Thine enemies, that the Lord God might dwell among them.

(37) The Lord gave the word

Psalm 68:11

11. The Lord gave the word: great was the company of [the preachers].

(38) How beautiful are the feet

Romans 10:15 (Isaiah 52:7)

15. How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

(39) Their sound is gone out

Romans 10:18 (Psalm 19:4)

18. their sound is gone out into all lands, and their words unto the ends of the world.

(40) Why do the nations so furiously rage together?

Psalm 2:1,2 (Acts 4:25-26)

1. Why do the heathen rage, and why do the people imagine a vain thing? 2. The kings of the earth rise up, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against His Anointed,

(41) Let us break their bonds asunder

Psalm 2:3

3. Let us break their bonds asunder, and cast away their yokes from us.

(42) He that dwelleth in heaven

Psalm 2:4

4. He that dwelleth in the heavens shall laugh them to scorn; the Lord shall have them in derision.

(43) Thou shalt break them

Psalm 2:9

9. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; Thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.

(44) Hallelujah

Revelation 19:6, Revelation 11:15 15, Revelation 19:16 16.

6. Hallelujah! for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. . . . the kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ: and He shall reign for ever and ever.  . . . KING OF KINGS, LORD OF LORDS.

Part III

(45) I know that my redeemer liveth

Job 19:25, 26

25. I know that my redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand on the latter day upon the earth: 26. And though worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God.

1Corinthians 15:20

20. [For] now is Christ risen from the dead. . . the firstfruits of them that [sleep].

(46) Since by man came death

1Corinthians 15:21-22

21. Since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. 22. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

(47) Behold I tell you a mystery

1Corinthians 15:51,52

51. Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep; but we shall all be changed, 52. In a moment, in a twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet;

(48) The trumpet shall sound

1Corinthians 15:52b-53

52. the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.

(49) Then shall be brought to pass

1Corinthians 15:54b (Isaiah 25:8)

54. then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, 'Death is swallowed up in victory.'

(50) O death where is thy sting?

1Corinthians 15:55-56 (Hosea 13:14)

55. O death, where is thy sting? O grave where is thy victory? 56. The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.

(51) But thanks be to God

1 Corinthians 15:57

57. But thanks be to God, who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

(52) If God be for us

Romans 8:31, 33, 34

31. If God be for us, who can be against us? 33. Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth. 34. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is at the right hand of God, who makes intercession for us.

(53) Worthy is the Lamb

Revelation 5:12, 13

12. Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. 13. . . . Blessing, and honour, glory and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.      Amen.

 

5

meadows

As we consider the Sabbath and the Red letters, we come to today’s groundbreaking idea. Jesus seemed to thrive on turning the religion of the day on its head, and He sure did with this statement.

Jesus said to them, "The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath."- Mark 2:27

With this statement, Jesus is changing the framework through which we see all law (well all of God’s law anyway.)

Have you ever wondered how David could write that poem with 176 stanzas about his love affair with the law of God.

David understood something about the law of the Lord. I have an old Bible that has this verse on the title page:

Open my eyes, that I may behold Wonderful things from Your law. - Psalms 119:18

This is often my prayer as I open the word.

And when I read it, or pray it, I can’t help but see the word pair – “behold Wonderful” – so that my prayer runs more like this.

Lord, as I open Your word today, help me see Jesus, the Wonderful One.

The law, as we saw a couple days ago, and specifically the Sabbath was a gift from God to His people. The Sabbath is not intended as a curse or burden.

One indicator that you don’t understand God’s law, particularly under the new covenant, is when it becomes burdensome. Believe me, this happens to all of us. We look at what God is calling us into, some new level of discipleship or commitment, and we think “God, why are you putting me through this?”

When we do as the old song suggests, trust and obey, when we walk by faith and not by sight, He will lead us into more joy, more passion, more victory (perhaps more persecution, more trouble, more fiery furnaces) and ultimately more of His presence.

How often do we wield the law like a battle-axe to break others? That is what the Pharisee’s were trying to do with Jesus and the disciples. They were always finding fault. But the law of the Lord is meant to be a mirror. Consider this:

For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does. - James 1:23-25

As I read this, I wonder if we are getting close to an answer for the question I posed on Monday. What is the Sabbath commissioned to do in the life of a believer?

The Sabbath was made for you! It’s a gift. It is intended for your good. As you embrace it you will find that you “will be blessed in what he [you] does [do].”

Oh, while we are on the subject of the benefits of the law, and in particular the Sabbath, I have to throw in one of my favorites here.

How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,
Nor stand in the path of sinners,
Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!

But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
And in His law he meditates day and night.

He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water,
Which yields its fruit in its season
And its leaf does not wither;
And in whatever he does, he prospers.

Psalm 1:1-3

The law, and in particular, the Sabbath is a gift. It was made for you.

Ben NelsonThanks for coming by. I will be back on this, so come back again.

For now, for today, press in!

Ben

8

Have you noticed that prosperity has become a bad word in church? Saying “I believe that a Christian should prosper” is almost as unwelcome in some congregations a fund-raising drive.

And yet I read in the first of David’s wonderful psalms:

And in whatever he does, he prospers. - Psalms 1:3

Here it is in context

How blessed is the man who does not
walk in the counsel of the wicked,
Nor stand in the path of sinners,
Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!

But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
And in His law he meditates day and night.

He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water,
Which yields its fruit in its season
And its leaf does not wither;
And in whatever he does, he prospers.

Psalms 1:1-3

Today, I would like for you to consider what it would look like for what you are going to do today to prosper.

Many who read this will probably be writing today. What would it look like for what you write to prosper? How about this:

I pray the person or people I am writing for would read what I write.
I pray they would hear it the way I intend it,
they would not misconstrue my intentions, or misinterpret my words.
I pray it would encourage one tempted to despair
I pray it would heal a broken heart
I pray it would enlighten someone’s path
I pray it would convict a hardened heart
I pray it would turn someone from a bad choice
I pray it would stir hope

How about other work you will do today. What would prosperity look like in your endeavors today?

What would prosperity look like in a college paper?
What would prosperity look like in cooking dinner for a family of five?
What would prosperity look like in planning a computer network?
What would prosperity look like in a law office, or an operating room, or on a Naval base?
What will you put your hand to today?

Perhaps you are a Pastor, and you are preparing a sermon, or visiting someone in the hospital, or speaking to a group of friend who are mourning the loss of a loved one.

What does prosperity look like in your life?

I pray today that you would embrace this idea of prosperity, and that you would ask the Lord to prosper everything you put your hand to.

There is one other fringe benefit to this prayer. As you ask the Lord to prosper everything you put your hand to, you may find that you will have a much harder time putting your hand to things that you know He would not find pleasure in.

It is would be very difficult to spend a lot of time

walking in the counsel of the wicked,
standing in the path of sinners,
or sitting in the seat of scoffers

when your meditation is on His pleasure.

You see God prospers those endeavors that He takes pleasure in. He smiles on us when we walk in the path He has set before us. [Tweet this]

Enough said.

Don’t be afraid of prosperity.

Ben NelsonThanks for stooping by today.

Shine where you're plugged in.

Ben