Do not harden your heart against God’s forgiveness. It is undeserved and surprising mercy, but it must be received, enjoyed, and lived by!
“And I said to them, If you think good, give me my wage and if not, forbear. So they weighed for my wage thirty pieces of silver. And Jehovah said to me, Cast it to the potter, the good price that I was valued by them. And I took the thirty pieces of silver and cast them to the potter in the house of Jehovah.” vs12-13
The Lord submitted to His sufferings, the price that He was betrayed for, and we submit to our sufferings, so that we please God. It is BETTER to suffer for righteousness than to live in sin. Bless God, we have deliverance through Christ, so that we can suffer and prevail. We must suffer to live godly. 2 Tim 3:12, “In fact, all those who want to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.”
First, the Lord submitted to His sufferings. He said, “If you think good… the good price that I was valued by them. And I took the thirty pieces of silver”. He accepted that He’d be betrayed for honoring God, but He yeilded Himself to the hatred of man.
He is the Man of Sorrows, acquainted with grief, but He came into this world to OBEY God, and nothing could stop Him. He endured temptations, threats, and the loneliness. He suffered separation from God, being forsaken by His friends, and He had all the trials of the enemy heaped upon Him. Yet, He bowed and endured it all. He is a successful Savior, and He did all the Father gave Him to do, and then God raised Him from the dead, enthroned Him, and made Him the subject of glory in God’s house. He is highly exalted because He humbled Himself, and He gives us an example.
We too must endure sufferings. It is hard fighting the flesh, fighting against sin, and it is hard to be faithful, but we must cast aside the opinions of man and do what we’ve been commanded. We must preach the whole counsel of God, never making the way one inch easier or more difficult than, “Thus says the Lord”. The scriptures are our authority - not how we feel, what people think, or what they say. We speak the word of God boldly for the salvation of God’s elect, using faithfulness as our method. We rely on God, and we LEAVE THE SUFFERINGS to Him: it is not our job to care about ourselves; it is His job! Our job is to be faithful by grace.
God does give us power to serve Him. The Lord Jesus earned the Spirit, and the precious promises are how we live. He comes back to us, though we’ve forsaken Him, and He brings us to repentance, which is rightness with God so that we believe and do what He says.
This gift of grace to be fearless and bold is to be prayed for because of our natural weakness. It is to be demanded, not like we’re bossy with God, but He has promised, and we must have it. Our Lord has given us an example, power, and a commandment, and we must go into the world preaching Christ.
Love tempers our heart, so it is not just facts and figures that we relay, but we have compassion on sinners. Look up to God. See Him ordaining your sorrows, and then submit yourself to them wholeheartedly, knowing that He loves you and gave the Son for your sin. He would never do you wrong, and you are not abandoned, even though at times you feel like it. He is with you to accomplish His will.
Put aside the sufferings for the glory of obedience!
“If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.”(2 Tim 2:13)
This comforts us. He is independent of faith, not bound by unbelief, and He is going to be God.
“I will boast in the LORD; the humble will hear and be glad.” (Ps 34:2)
The only people happy about the gospel are poor, humble, broken hearted sinners, who obtain mercy.
We are not the proud. Our self-strength has been washed away, and our righteousness made putried. We are believers in Christ because we have nothing else, and we see His all sufficiency in grace.
He’s saved us by mercy, not merit; He sticks with us by covenant faithfulness, not our faithful walk; He gives us POWER that we don’t have by forgiving and cleansing the filthiest of sinners by continued grace and mercy, giving us promises that Christ has earned (2 Cor 1:20).
Blessed are you to be humble! Hear the word of God and rejoice: It is for you!
“After six days Jesus took Peter, James, and his brother John and led them up on a high mountain by themselves.” (Matt 17:1)
You’ll never make it up into the “high mountain” unless the Lord Jesus Christ takes you. By faith, according to sovereign mercy, He takes us up higher by destroying self and giving us sufficiency in Christ, so that we look to God’s word assuredly. He opens the gospel, applies it to the heart, and with confidence, as undeserving sinners, we say, “Jesus is mine, and I’m His: I have all things in Christ.”
“The result of humility is fear of the LORD, along with wealth, honor, and life.” Prov 22:4
So much good comes from humility. Let us seek it to be exalted, walking in the knowledge of grace in Christ Jesus as our all, the Spirit’s power. Subdue the lust of pride by the constant winnowing of the word, and take heed quickly to your falls, occasioned by pride, so humility can run to the forefront. The Lord keeps us humble.
“Don’t rob a poor man because he is poor, and don’t crush the oppressed at the gate for the LORD will take up their case and will plunder those who plunder them.” Proverbs 22:22-23
Be careful dealing with God’s people oppressively, for we cry out to the LORD. We are not defenseless, when all seems against us, if we are just in our cause and honest in our complaint. We don’t have to have the last word.
“Don’t be one of those who enter agreements, who put up security for loans. If you have no money to pay, even your bed will be taken from under you.” (Prov 22:26-27)
If you become surety for another person’s debt, taking responsibility for them, instead of leaving them with God, then you will pay for it. I’ve tried to finagle my way - to help God or force His hand - and it tumbles down. You can’t make a person faithful: only Christ can.
“Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will stand in the presence of kings. He will not stand in the presence of unknown men.” (Prov 22:29)
Let me be about my Master’s business, faithfully, and He’ll open doors that need opening. You only need an audience of One: your prayers and your conduct are before the King.
Futility and vanity are difficult to swallow, thus Solomon turned to the world to satisfy his soul. Yet, he found nothing in sin or wandering from God but more vexation, vanity, and grief. He says, “Absolute futility,’ says the Teacher. ‘Absolute futility. Everything is futile ( Ecclesiastes 1:2)." The earth is cursed, and we are cursed because of sin to suffer and spin our wheels, to labor and see little fruit, and to see our dreams smashed against the rocks of reality, as death chases us down! God said, “You will eat bread by the sweat of your brow until you return to the ground, since you were taken from it. For you are dust, and you will return to dust (Gen 3:19).” It’s a hard life, and there’s nothing easy about it, unless we’re deceived and doing Satan’s bidding; it is hard to be saved and continue in the faith. Our Lord, said, “How narrow is the gate and difficult the road that leads to life, and few find it (Matt 7:14).”
The remedy is to cast yourself upon God and bring all trouble to Him. Peter says, “Casting all your cares on Him, because He cares for you.” He knows your need, and He is the Helper, helping all who cannot help themselves.
Are you frustrated? Tell Him. Full of hopelessness? Let Him know. Do you desire what you cannot obtain, even contentment and power to rejoice? God knows the need of the needy, and He is the Provider of everything! Do not doubt Him and say, “You are not worth it. I will serve sin.” Instead, come to Him, confessing the temptation, despair, and heartache, trusting Him to be a promise keeping God. He told Paul, “My strength is made perfect in weakness”, so when we’re reduced to nothing, He steps in and makes us see His sufficiency, which is His ability to give joy, power, and meaning… His ability to make us content, fruitful, and thankful (2 Cor 12:9). These promises are real.
If we don’t believe, then we’ll wear out, play the hypocrite, and then we’ll go on to depression, suicide, or uselessness! We’ll turn from Him, unless we believe that He’s worth turning to.
Yes, you MUST seek Him daily, and some days or seasons are easier, while others are very trying, as you feel abandoned in spirit; It is not true, you are not forsaken, and the peace and joy are not only promised but fulfilled in everyone who trusts Christ, confessing our despair. Paul says adamantly, “Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with Thanksgiving [for all you have in Christ], present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus (Phil 4:6-7).”
You can do nothing about your condition! You can’t watch enough tv, or spend enough time on the kids and the world: You must come to Christ to be healed of the curse that’s in your flesh.
In Esther 8, the Queen prevailed upon the King to get help for Israel, yet he refused to annul his command that they be destroyed. Instead, “The king’s edict gave the Jews in each and every city the right to assemble and defend themselves, to destroy, kill, and annihilate every ethnic and provincial army hostile to them, including women and children, and to take their possessions as spoils of war (vs11).” It is the same with us: God has not taken away the curse of the flesh, but He’s given us the Spirit, no condemnation, and the promise that He’ll give us victory, as we turn to Him, believing the gospel. Believe, Heshimu… believe, poor sinner… believe, if you’re reading these words, and deal honestly with your need and the only Remedy there is.
“Immediately the Pharisees went out and started plotting with the Herodians against Him, how they might destroy Him.” (Mark 3:6)
We must expect opposition for faithfully following Christ. It is not heroism in us, but grace from Him that makes us partakers of the sufferings, reaching out the gospel at the expense of man’s discomfort.
This grace is preached, so that God may save whom He will and deliver chosen sinners from bondage, but you know what it’s like to be indifferent to or opposed to the gospel. It takes God to subdue the heart, but He will do it, so we keep spreading the word, occupying until He comes.
This adversity must be handled with humility and boldness, with gentleness towards people and unwavering resolve towards the truth. Let these poles govern us and guide us. Let’s be faithful, though we suffer for it. Our Captain was unashamed, unfailing, and He is worthy of trust in these tight spots, for His glory and our good.
“Do not rejoice over me, my enemy; When I fall, I will arise; When I sit in darkness, the LORD will be a light to me. I will bear the indignation of the LORD, because I have sinned against Him, until He pleads my case and executes justice for me. He will bring me forth to the light; I will see His righteousness. Then she who is my enemy will see, and shame will cover her who said to me, ‘Where is the LORD your God?’ My eyes will see her; Now she will be trampled down like mud in the streets.”
When God’s on our side, who can be against us, “He that spared not His own Son but delivered Him up for us all. How shall He not with Him also freely give us all things (Rom 8:32)?” God’s on our side for Christ’s sake: Sin, death, and all opposition WILL be defeated! It’s a blessing from God to have all that we really need in Christ.
In Him, there’s forgiveness through His blood and no condemnation; there is power over sin, hope, and peace: He doesn’t leave us to ourselves, but He intervenes to save us because of His love, grace, and kindness. God’s goodness is on our side, which is all the power of infinite Majesty, knowledge, and the wisdom of Him who cannot err and does everything for our benefit (Phil 4:6).
Sin rages and we are disturbed, until God intervenes to give life, and He does it by the law of Spirit, looking upon us as justified - “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death (Rom 8:2).” He removed the obstacles, and now blessings flow freely by faith, which He’s given us to see that He’s a faithful God to the covenant, and we are safe. “God for you” means every enemy is too weak to stand, and this is the hope of the saints - not in ourselves but in Him who raises the dead. Micah said, ““Do not rejoice over me, my enemy; When I fall, I will arise; When I sit in darkness, the LORD will be a light to me.”
Don’t think you’re impotent, but believe on Him as the impotent person that you are, and like Sarah, you’ll receive strength to do God’s will. Micah said, “I will bear the indignation of the LORD, because I have sinned against Him, until He pleads my case and executes justice for me. He will bring me forth to the light; I will see His righteousness.” He isn’t looking to you, so let us look to Him, as all the promises of grace are in the Son.
You don’t have to have past faithfulness, just Christ possessed by faith; you don’t have to have any strength, just faith in His strength, and your faith can be small because faith saves in spite of unbelief. He says, “Then she who is my enemy will see, and shame will cover her who said to me, ‘Where is the LORD your God?’” Don’t look at how much you believe, but believe that no matter your undeservedness, faith is enough to get the blessing (Mark 9:24). God is who you need, and He’s with us for Christ’s sake. Believe the gospel and live as an inheritor of all things, not as a person who needs to deserve. You must have it all to live godly, and it must be free and promised to us for Christ’s sake.
Let the enemies rage (and they will come), but they cannot overcome Him, so take yourself TOTALLY out of the picture. He says, “Now she will be trampled down like mud in the streets.” Grace will end in glory.
“The statutes of Omri and all the practices of Ahab’s house have been observed; you have followed their policies. Therefore, I will make you a desolate place and the city’s residents an object of contempt; you will bear the scorn of My people.” (vs16) (HCSB)
The scorn of God’s people is discipline because of our sins, so we lose love, joy, and peace because we walk corruptly in the flesh, rather than by faith.
We think that evil is only outward deeds, but we don’t recognize the PRIDE that deceives us and takes from us, because we’re not dealing rightly with God and men. He says, “The voice of the LORD calls out to the city (and it is wise to fear Your name): ‘Pay attention to the rod and the One who ordained it. Are there still the treasures of wickedness and the accursed short measure in the house of the wicked? Can I excuse wicked scales or bags of deceptive weights (vs9-11)?” We have no reason to be proud because all is by grace. Our justification is by the obedience of One Person, our Lord Jesus, and that is our acceptance - not because we chose Him but He chose us (Rom 5:19). Sanctification is the fruit of the gospel! It is not something that we add to or contribute to, but God’s word abides in us, producing fruit. He says, “I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, God’s word remains in you, and you have conquered the evil one (2 John 2:14).” Perseverance in holiness, overcoming sin, and being useful in the kingdom, even communion with God, are all apart from works of righteousness that we’ve done, but according to His mercy.
There was a widow in the City of Nain, which means “lovely”, and the Lord Jesus is the loveliness of the city, because He comes to us, dead in our sins, and has compassion (Luke 7:11-17). He saves us, causing us to sit up and speak for God, and it is NOT something that we did, contributed to, or maintain; it is God reproving the heart, God giving power to faith, and it is God who keeps us believing. Paul said, “In view of this, we always pray for you that our God will make you worthy of his calling, and by his power fulfill your every desire to do good and your work produced by faith (2 Thess 1:11)”.
We have nothing to add to Christ, lest He be insufficient, and all of our faithfulness is because of Him. Thus, only the humble soul is faithful, and all rest in Christ is God given and fruitful because of it. Song of Solomon 1:16, “How handsome you are, my love. How delightful! Our bed is green”. He doesn’t look to us, nor can we look to ourselves, for a single thing; it is grace - faith is by grace, and good works are by grace, too. “For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift (Eph 2:8).” We have nothing to boast of, except Him who loved us and washed us from our sins.
Walk with God in humility, instead of unjustly, and deal with Him and your neighbor by the gospel. If we do not, He says, “For the wealthy of the city are full of violence, and its residents speak lies; the tongues in their mouths are deceitful. As a result, I have begun to strike upi severe;u. Bringing desolation because of your sins (vs12-13).” The cross teaches us that God saves, and we’re to look to Him for the salvation of others, seizing opportunities to preach Christ, but preaching no works based acceptance and preaching no works to increase our acceptance. We are as saved when we sin as when we obey, so do not add to your obedience the stench of merit, or it isn’t obedience but pride masquerading as faith.
God fights against us because we fight Him, exalting ourselves when we should be humbled, and it is a rejection of grace, in its subtle form, taking away our happiness! He says, “You will eat but not be satisfied, for there will be hunger within you. What you acquire, you cannot save, and what you do save, I will give to the sword. You will sow but not reap; you will press olives but not anoint yourself with oil; and you will tread grapes but not drink the wine (vs14-15).” We cannot be at peace, if we war against Him, His Son’s obedience, and His glory. The Spirit only blesses faith in Christ (Gal 3:13-14). Find your sufficiency and all power over sin in Him. Do not add to Him, lest you be found a liar; do not need your own holiness to complete your justification. He says, “Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Have everything FREE OF CHARGE, in spite of your sin, every day, and you’ll have power to do God’s commandments: You’ll also have the joy and peace that’s from believing.
Put the flesh to death by faith, rather than by willpower... by what you don’t deserve, rather than by what you do.