“Weekly Food” is a collection of words written by a few different authors and as you can see, there is some food for every weekly in the year.
God, who we can trust, teaches us to protect our hearts. In Proverbs 4:23 it says, “protect your heart…” What heart is this? The heart God is talking about here is NOT your blood pumping heart that we study in biology. It is talking about your inner life – the part of you that we cannot cut up and look at under a microscope. It is the invisible part of us that is, who we are. It is the part of you that feels and thinks and acts. What do we protect it from? Lies. Lies on T.V. Lies at school. Lies from friends. Lies from teachers. Lies on Facebook. Lies on YouTube. Lies on movies. Please protect your heart today.
If you are young then listen to me. If you are 10 or 12 or 13 or 18 then listen up. Here is what I want to say to you today, make good choices. God tells us in Proverbs 22:6 that if we start following him when we are young, then when we are older we will keep following him. If we make good choices when we are young, then when we are older we will make good choices. How do we make good choices? Ask God for help and ask our parents. The first good choice is to have good friends. If you are friends with people when speak good words to you – then stay friends with them.
In thinking about God as the reason for rejecting idols (false lifeless things we worship everyday) and serving him, I cannot help thinking about a sermon preached by C.M Lockridge where he spoke about the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He said, “The Bible says my King is the King of the Jews. He’s the King of Israel. He’s the King of Righteousness. He’s the King of the Ages. He’s the King of Heaven. He’s the King of Glory. He’s the King of kings, and He’s the Lord of lords. That’s my King. I wonder, do you know Him? My King is an all-powerful King. There is no way to explain His limitless love. His strength never ends. He’s completely sincere. He’s eternally unmovable. His grace never dies. His power is that of a King and his mercy is the same for all people. Do you know Him? He’s the greatest celebrity that has ever walked on this earth… He’s the sinner’s Savior. He’s the centerpiece of civilization. There is no one like him. There is no one who comes close to him. He is the greatest idea in literature. He’s the highest personality in philosophy. He’s the fundamental doctrine of true theology. He’s the only one qualified to be an all sufficient Savior. I wonder if you know Him today? He gives strength for the weak. He’s there for the tempted and the tried. He sympathizes and He saves. He strengthens and keeps us going. He guards and He guides. He heals the sick. He cleansed the lepers. He forgives sinners. He lets debtors go. He saves the slaves. He defends the weak. He blesses the young. He serves the unfortunate. He respects the old people. He rewards the diligent. And He beautifies the meek. I wonder if you know Him? He’s the key to knowledge. He’s the wellspring of wisdom. He’s the doorway of deliverance. He’s the pathway of peace. He’s the roadway of righteousness. He’s the highway of holiness. He’s the gateway of glory… His life is matchless. His goodness is limitless. His mercy is everlasting. His love never changes. His Word is enough. His grace is sufficient. His reign is righteous. And His yoke is easy. And His burden is light… He’s indescribable! He’s incomprehensible. He’s invincible. He’s irresistible. You can’t get Him out of your mind. You can’t get Him off of your hand. You can’t outlive Him, and you can’t live without Him…” I love this description of the God of the Bible, who is the God of the Universe. I love it because it shows us that we worship God not because God forces us to, but because it is the only response to who he is and what he has done. We serve the Lord because there is no-one or nothing greater to serve.
Written by David Clarkson
ONE – OUR VALUE.
Whatever we value the most, we make our God. For valuing is an act of soul worship. Worship is when we think about something as most excellent. Now the Lord deserves the highest esteem, as an act of honour and worship for him alone. Therefore, to have something or someone else as our highest value, when we have low thoughts of God, is idolatry. To have a high opinion of ourselves, of our abilities and accomplishments, of our relations and enjoyments, of our riches and honours, or those that are rich and honourable, or anything of like nature, when we have low opinions of God, is to place these things into the place of God, to make them idols and give them that honour and worship that the Lord alone deserves. What we value the most – we make our god. If you hold other things in higher esteem than the true God, you are idolaters (Job 21:14).
TWO – OUR THOUGHTS.
Whatever we think about the most, we make our God. For to be most remembered, to be most minded, is an act of worship which God alone deserves, and which He requires as due to Himself alone (Ecclesiastes 12:1). Other things may be thought about; but if they are thought about more than God, it is idolatry – the worship of God is given to the creature. When you mind yourself, mind your estates and worldly interests, mind your profits or pleasures more than God – you set these up as idols in the place of God.
When our time, which could be used in thinking about God, is spent in thoughts of other things, when God is not in all your thoughts, or if He sometimes is there, yet if other things take a higher place in your thoughts. If when you are called to think of God with all seriousness, if ordinarily and willingly you make these thoughts of God second to thoughts of people of places or things, it is idolatry.
If either you do not think of God or think about Him as He is not, this is idolatry. If we think about His mercy, disregarding His justice. If we think about His compassion, disregarding His purity and holiness. If we think about His faithfulness in performing promises, not at all regarding His truth in execution justice. If we think about His great love, not regarding His sovereignty – then we worship a false image of god and not the real Triune God of the Bible, the God of heaven and earth. Thinking otherwise of God than He has revealed Himself, or minding other things as much or more than God – is idolatry.
THREE – OUR GOALS.
That which we most aim at, we make our God. For to be most intended is an act of worship that only God deserves. For since God is the highest goods thing, we must make Him our main goal. Now the chief end must be our chief aim and all other things must be used to get that one goal. In this case, since God is our main goal we must use all other goals to know Him.
Now, when we make other things our chief aim or main design, we set them up in the place of God and make them idols. When our chief goal is to be rich, or great, or safe, or famous, or powerful, when our great aim is our own ease, or pleasure, or credit, or profit and advantage, when we aim at, or intend anything more, or anything as much, as the glorifying and enjoying of God – this is soul idolatry.
Trust God. Again I say it – trust God. It is not hard for me to say this to you and it is good for you to hear this. Proverbs 3:5 says that we can trust in the Lord. The Lord is our God, the one who made us. Why should we trust God? God made us and so cares for us. God is good, all the time. God saves us from Satan – our evil enemy. God is light and love and the way, the truth and the life. God does not change. Our parents change, our friends change, we change – but God never changes and so we can trust him.
Some things look right, but in the end they are death. There are some foods we can eat that look or taste good but they contain poison and so kill us. There are some movies we watch that look good, but they lie to us and so harm us. There are some songs that we listen to that we think are good, but they are not and in the end they kill us. There are some people who we think are our friends, but they are actually enemies who break us down with their words. There are some actions we can do (like lying or cheating) that look so right, but they only do us (and other people) harm. Proverbs 14:12 says this.
Every word of God is perfect, he is a shield to all who trust him says Proverbs 30:5. Think about these words right now. Stop whatever you are doing and think about God – the shield who protects us from Satan and his lies. Every day you hear lies. Only God can protect you, he is your shield. Think about these words right now. Stop whatever you are doing and think about Gods words – they are perfect. We can trust Gods words. When God says, “stop” we stop because his words are perfect and when God says, “go” we can go because his words are perfect. Hide behind God today and follow his words.
No matter what you have done, God can forgive you. For me this is such good news because I have done many, many bad things. I once thought to myself, “God won’t forgive me this time.” But do you know what? He did forgave me. We are told the words by God, “son and daughter, your sins are forgiven.” God said these words to a man who came to him. Remember that song In Christ Alone? What does it say? “every sin on him was laid” Every sin was laid on Jesus when he died on the cross. EVERY sin. This means EVERY sin we do can be forgiven – washed away – forever.
In our world, most leaders won’t come to us and ask us to follow them – they will want us to go to them and say, “can I follow you.” Think about it. We sign up our names to join the sports team. We ask if we can go to study at University. God is very different to the leaders in our lives. God has come to call us to follow him. When I first started following God – a friend invited me to go to a church youth group. I went to meet girls. I left following God – why? God said to me (like he is saying to you) – “come, follow me.” Will you follow God today?
God does NOT say to us, “worship me” – God is so awesome that when we see God we will automatically worship. God does not force us to worship him – God is just so wonderfully big and just so awesome that God is worth our worship. God is so worthy… worthy…. worthy as that song goes – that when we hear of God, when we read about God, the natural thing to do is to worship. We know this because one time, when God healed a man who could not walk, the people, automatically worshiped. No one forced them to.
The wrath of God is clearly seen in the thirty-nine-volume book The Old Testament (Jeremiah 30:32 and Nahum 1:2). In this book He delivered all sorts of punishment against worthy individuals (Angels and Humans). He punished the Canaanites with death and the loss of land (Judges). He locked up the Angels who rebelled in, “darkness” (Jude 1:6 and 2 Peter 2:4). He judged the world with death because of their great evil (Genesis 5:32–10:1). He judged Solomon by giving most of the nation to another family line (1 Kings 11-12). Angels and Humans who were worthy of His vengeance were deserving because of their pride, a pride that gave birth to the fruit of great wickedness (Deuteronomy 9:5). In Psalm 94 and 99 we read that the Lord paid back the proud for their rebellion (pride) and evil actions – this is his vengeance.
The just (right) punishment that people received always came with lots of warning and time for repentance. We see this in the destruction of the city of Nineveh (Jonah and Nahum), in Solomon’s downfall (1 Kings 11) and in the final exile of Israel (1 and 2 Kings). The moments in the history of the Old Testament when God delivered a blow of justice, were always marked with wisdom and control. We must not think that the God of The Old Testament is like an unstable person who lashed out in uncontrolled anger. The eternal Lord, is perfect in His wrath (Psalm 18:30 and Deuteronomy 32:4) – perfect in timing and severity.
Gods wrath was always done because, “… a father corrects the son in whom he delights, a father disciplines the ones he loves” (Proverbs 3:11-12). In other words, God wanted people to succeed and flourish. His end goal of wrath was for wholeness and prosperity – not for destruction and death (Proverbs 28:25, Psalm 37:11, Joshua 1:8, Deuteronomy 30:9 and 2 Kings 18:7). Having said this, sometimes Gods people did not proper (book of Job). That the righteous suffered or that God used evil to deliver disciple is not outside the God of the Old Testament (book of Habakkuk). God was still wise, good and all powerful over these things. The people of the Old Testament were to accept the discipline (wrath) that the Lord brought them and not to reject it – because it would ultimately work out for their good and Gods glory (Proverbs 3:11-12).
The wrath of God is clearly seen (Revelation 19:15, Romans 1:18 and Romans 12:19) in the twenty-seven-volume book The New Testament. At first, we may not be able to clearly see the wrath of God in this book, however through careful study, we will. The vengeance of God is scattered all over the New Testament. When God encoded himself into human DNA (God the Son in human form) – His name was Jesus. Jesus was, “God with us” (Matthew 1:23). When God lived in a human body on earth, his main purpose was to die for sins and rise again (John 2:18-22, Matthew 12:39-40, Matthew 16:21 and John 10:17-18). He came in meekness and humility (Philippians 2:6-11). Having said this, there are some instances where Jesus, in a moment, disciplined or inflicted vengeance against evil. For example, on Demons (Luke 4:40-41, Mark 1:32-34 and Matthew 17:18), on sickness (Mark 1:29-30) and even on Peter his follower (Matthew 16:23 and Mark 8:33).
Towards the end of Jesus’ life on earth, before he ascended into heaven, he was crucified on a cross. This act of dying on a cross was an act of wrath. How so? It was an act of wrath in two ways. Firstly, it was wrath against death, Satan, evil people (sin and idols). In the Old Testament there is the account of when the Lord saved His people Israel, from the clutches of evil people and Satan, while they were in Egypt (Exodus). This act of wrath on Egypt, was an act that delivered the Israelite’s, and it required blood. The people had to kill a lamb and smear its blood on the door posts of their homes. This blood would save them from death. In this account we see that the blood of the lamb was Gods way of saving His people from slavery. It was Gods way of delivering them from Satan claws, deaths finality and the evil heart of Pharaoh. This same meaning is found in the crucifixion of Jesus, the ultimate lamb of God (John 1:29 and Revelation 12:11). The cross was Gods wrath against Satan (Genesis 3:15, Romans 16:20, Hebrews 2:14 and Colossians 2:14-15), death (2 Timothy 1:10), sin and evil passions (Galatians 2:20, Romans 6, Galatians 5:24, 2 Timothy 2:11, Colossians 3:5 and 1 peter 2:24) and evil human powers (all four gospels show him defeating human powers such as the Pharisees, the Romans and so on). Secondly, it was wrath against Jesus, the Son who stood as a substitute for corrupt sinners, broken image bearers of heaven. In the Old Testament we see the sacrificial system of Leviticus. In this system there was a day, once a year, called the day of Atonement (Leviticus 16). On this day the high priest was to offer a sacrifice (a bull) to atone for his own sins. Once he did this, he was to offer one goat, “… as a sin offering… for the Lord” and another goat as a,” … scapegoat…” to wonder off into the wilderness – taking the sins of the people with it. In this we see that for the presence of the Lord to be with His covenant people, sin needed to be dealt with, the sins of His people needed to be paid for – and they were paid for by the death of a bull and two goats. This same image is found in the crucifixion. Here we see Jesus, both the High Priest and the spotless sacrifice (Hebrews 9:11-28 and 2 Corinthians 5:21), who wandered into the wilderness of Golgotha – carrying the sins of humanity – and who also died on the altar as a sin offering to heaven (Hebrews 10:1-18). It seems that, in the minds of the early believers, they understood that He was punished in our place (Romans 3:21-31, 2 Corinthians 5:21 and 1 Peter 3:18).
The wrath of God continued after the Messiah ascended into heaven. During the time of the early church we see moments of vengeance. We see the death of Annas and Sapphira (Acts 5:1-11) and the blinding of Elymas the sorcerer (Acts 13:8-12). Like with the Old Testament, the wrath of God in the New Testament was delivered against Angels and humans because of pride and evil. In other words, Gods wrath in the New Testament was perfectly justified (Romans 1:18-20, Ephesians 5:6 and 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9). Like with the Old testament, the wrath of God in the New Testament was perfectly executed. It was not uncontrolled anger, but was patient and perfectly timed justice.