2018-05-23 / Religion

Rejoice in Christ’s power of restoration

Sunday School Lesson
Rev. James Temples

Leviticus 16; Psalm 34; Hebrews 2:5-18

It is easy for us to picture the lives of the great leaders as having few — if any — life problems. This mental picture is quite inaccurate, as we read the divine record. The patriarchs faced many difficulties that most of us will never know. In these trying conditions, these people found that they could trust in God — Jehovah — to carry them through all of their trials.

As we read the Record of the activities on the Day of Atonement (see Leviticus 16), it is easy to see the concern of the people concerning the actions of the high priest. The actions — or inactions — of this man would determine the spiritual condition of the nation. The people-- standing outside the tabernacle — were not able to observe the actions that would bring about the forgiveness of their sins.

When the nation of Israel, finally, reached the Promised Land — Canaan — the worship at the tabernacle continued for a few years. The spiritual condition of the land became so degraded that the Ark of the Covenant — the central focus of the Atonement — was captured by their enemies — the Philistines. This fact caused national worship to stop.

The fact of the lack of national worship did not prevent individuals from having their own relationship with God. These individuals were not in the majority. Yet, this fact did not block dependence on the God of their fathers.

The first king of Israel did not remain true to his calling. He turned his attention from the worship of God. He wanted, only, to please himself. This attitude and action led to the anointing of the then-teen-ager, David, as the next king of the country.

There would be a period of about ten years before this young man would be seated upon the throne. Obviously, he did not know that timeframe that he must endure. During much of this time, David was fleeing for his life, since Saul made several attempts to kill him.

As David was fleeing for his life, he went into the land of the enemy, Gath. 1 Samuel 21:10. While there, “he changed his behavior before them, and feigned (invented) himself mad (insane) in their hands, and scrabbled on the doors of the gate, and let his spittle fall down upon his beard.” 1 Samuel 21:13. This action allowed David to leave that land.

During this time, David did not forget that he continued to have the call of God upon his life. Writing songs, and singing them, seemed to have been part of his way of life. Even in this strange land, while running for his life, he declared, “I will bless (praise) the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually (without interruption) be in my mouth.” Psalm 34:1.

As one would flee for his life, the things of God might not be at the forefront of his thought processes. For the person who has learned to place complete confidence in God, the thoughts of David can echo, even today — “My soul shall make her boast in the Lord: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad.” Psalm 34:2. The people around us will observe our reaction to difficult situations. What do these actions and attitude show, in regard to our spoken words? Yes, it is easy to proclaim the greatness of God, when circumstances are pleasant.

As David wrote in the past, he expressed his personal thoughts, and invited others to share in his outlook. “O magnify (make great or large) the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together.” Psalm 34:3.

Personal testimony carries great weight, as one describes the actions of our God. “I sought the Lord (i.e., to come to Him by prayer), and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.” Psalm 34:4. The men around David knew the circumstances of his life. The un-crowned king understood that his men were looking to him for political and spiritual guidance. He wrote, “They looked unto him, and were lightened (to be cheerful; to sparkle); and their faces were not ashamed.” Psalm 34:5. How do people see us, when we are in difficult situations? Even though David had known relative financial comfort, as he grew up on his father’s possession, he, now, had few financial resources available. He declared, “This poor (without resources) man cried, and the Lord heard him, and saved (delivered) him out of all his troubles.” Psalm 34:6.

When one has learned to trust in the divine provisions, he or she is never disappointed — the answer might not come as we mere humans expect. David recognized the divine provision that had been made — “The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear (reverence) him, and delivereth them.” Psalm 34:7.

The Holy Spirit (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:21) allowed David to use a very interesting description, as he continued this psalm. “O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man (valiant man) that trusteth (to take refuge or shelter) in him.” Psalm 34:8. The focus of each life needs to be “corrected” occasionally to insure our spiritual direction. “O fear (reverence) the Lord, ye his saints (holy ones): for there is no want (lack) to them that fear him.” Psalm 34:9. Our God cares for the things of nature. However, his greatest interest is in his highest creation — mankind. David wrote, “The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the Lord shall not want (lack) any good thing.” Psalm 34:10.

The things of nature must depend entirely on their physical environment for the meeting of their physical needs. Since mankind has a spiritual nature, our spiritual needs are met on a spiritual level. The writer to the Hebrews points all readers to Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Hebrews 2:9. We have assurance regarding our lives, as we look for our spiritual provisions. “For in that he himself (i.e., Jesus) hath suffered being tempted (tested), he is able to succour (give special help) them that are tempted (tested).” Hebrews 2:18. This fact can lead to our personal rejoicing.

Have you accepted the divine provision for your life? If not, please allow Jesus Christ to be your Savior, today. John 3:16.

Rev. James C. Temples’ Sunday School Lesson has appeared in the Early County News each week since 1967. A native of Early County, Rev. Temples taught in public schools 32 years and 10 years at Southeastern College of Assemblies of God, in Lakeland, Fla. He also served as pastor and evangelist during those years. He can be contacted at P. O. Box 1484, Swainsboro, GA 30401; 478- 299- 2068. Email: temples_ james@ yahoo. co m

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