Father God, thank You for all of the goodness You have shown me in my life. Thank You for Your forgiveness. Help me to forgive others as You have so freely forgiven me. Please help me to see others (even people I think are hopeless, or do not think the way I think) the way You do. Help me to show Your love and compassion to all people and all situation all the time. Remind me that I too am in need of forgiveness and mercy. Help me to have eyes to see and ears to hear the needs of others. Help me to find creative ways to show kindness to people around me. Help me to let Your light shine. Help me to be a living example of Your Great Goodness. In Jesus’ Mighty Name, Amen.
Subject: Knowing God means to understand His character (Apostle Paul)
“Thus saith the Lord, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: but let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the Lord” (Jeremiah 9:23-24).
Many today do glory, or boast, in their own intelligence or cleverness. They may glory in their physical strength or in the power of a position they hold in society. They may glory in their large bank account or in the stuff their money has purchased. But because God knows that neither wit nor power nor wealth will ever meet our deepest needs, He commands us not to trust in them. Instead we are to glory in knowing our God.
Moses once prayed to God, “Shew me now thy way, that I may know thee” (Exodus 33:13). In response to this plea, God promised to reveal Himself to Moses. God took Moses and put him in the crevice of a rock. “And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty” (Exodus 34:6-7).
Moses learned to know the Lord better by this revelation of God’s character. Likewise, if we would know the Lord we must understand His character. As we look at Christ we see the Lord’s lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in action.
God is love. He is slow to anger and ready to forgive. He often withholds the judgment we deserve, and gives us blessings we do not deserve. God loved us enough that when we were sinners—outcasts in His sight—He sent His Son to rescue us from our hopeless state.
God’s great love is expressed by Christ’s great sufferings for us. Jesus said, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). Christ did just that—He gave His life for sinners. It was for sinners that Christ agonized in the Garden of Gethsemane, sweating great drops of blood. It was for our sins that Christ was flogged by cruel Roman soldiers. It was because of God’s great love for us that Christ was mocked by those soldiers as they placed a crown of thorns upon His head and with a rod drove the thorns deep into our Savior’s skull. For sinners, Christ was nailed to a cross (the cruelest form of Roman execution) and hung there, dying for six torturous hours.
Can we fathom how much God must love us to have willingly endured death by Roman crucifixion? The Apostle Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians was that they “may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge” (Ephesians 3:18-19). Christ’s love is so great that it passes knowledge! We can search to know God’s love our entire lives, but our human minds will never comprehend it all. May our prayer be, “Lord, help me to know the love of Christ.”
Sadly, many today have a corrupted understanding of God’s love. They think God’s love is a permissive and indulgent love, a love that allows them to live as they please. They continue in their sin thinking that God’s “love” will cause Him to overlook their greed, selfishness, and immorality. But God’s love does not give us liberty to indulge in sinful behavior, rather “the love of Christ constraineth us” (2 Corinthians 5:14). Christ’s love compels us to love Him, it urges us to obey Him, it excites us to live for Him. If we truly know God’s love we will not live in sinful pleasures, but in obedience to God’s will. God’s love compels us to love and serve Him, motivated not by brute force, but by amazing love.
God is the Judge of all the earth. As sovereign Judge, God alone decides what is right and what is wrong, who is guilty and who is innocent. God told Moses that He will by no means clear the guilty: those who sin will receive their just punishment. God is a holy God who hates sin. Psalm 7:11 says, “God is angry with the wicked every day.”
God is not angry in the same way men are usually angry. God’s anger is not uncontrolled rage; God does not storm about Heaven in a passion. God’s anger is a controlled and measured anger; it is a settled displeasure against sin; it is a verdict of “guilty” upon sinners and a just meting out of punishment upon them.
The Bible warns us that Judgment Day is coming for all of us—whether we are saved or unsaved (2 Corinthians 5:10-11; Revelation 20:11-12)! God will judge whether the things we have done here on earth were right or wrong. This fact ought to shake us awake! It ought to motivate us to live a life that is well-pleasing to God (see 2 Corinthians 5:11, 14). It ought to move us to go and persuade others to also live a life that is pleasing to God.
God is love. He is also holy. We must hold these two aspects of God’s character in balance. Some speak only of God’s love, failing to understand God’s hatred for sin. Others view God as a cruel taskmaster, always demanding more, never satisfied, ever ready to whack us with a stick if we fail. The Devil tries to push us to either extreme. God’s love is not without holiness, nor is His wrath without mercy. We must properly understand both the goodness and the severity of God (Romans 11:22).
In the death of Christ we not only see God’s love, but also God’s judgment against sin. God could not simply overlook sin—God’s justice had to be satisfied, judgment had to be meted out, blood had to be shed. In holiness God had to mete out judgment on our sin; but in love God provided a way for Someone else to bear our judgment. “Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many” (Hebrews 9:28). Christ bore the judgment, the wrath of a holy God against sin, that should have been ours—and we have gone free!
All that God does is right, and He commands us to also live rightly (Matthew 5:48). God told Abraham, “Walk before me, and be thou perfect” (Genesis 17:1). God requires the same thing of us, but not without giving us the power to do it. God exercises righteousness in the earth by making His followers righteous (2 Corinthians 5:21).
The Apostle Paul’s prayer for believers was that they might know “what is the exceeding greatness of his [God’s] power to usward who believe . . . which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead” (Ephesians 1:19-20). The power God gives believers is the same power that raised Christ from the grave. If God could give life to a dead man, how much more can He give us the power to live righteous lives!
Yet many Christians today live powerless lives. They complain that obeying the commands of the Bible is too hard. They say, “God expects too much. Obedience is too unpopular. Can’t we enjoy a little that the world has to offer?” They are unwilling to forsake their addictions to the pleasures of sin. They think Satan is an easier master than Christ. But Christ calls us to a life of self-denial, sacrificial service, and consecrated holiness. God gives us the power to live such a life and thus escape the bitter consequences of sin. God is in the business of making sinful human beings into righteous persons.
If we would truly know the Lord, we must understand His character as it is revealed to us in the Bible. Search the Scriptures, for therein you will find the character of the true and living God.
Week # 3 Part 2
Part of why David is called a man after God’s own heart is that he had absolute faith in God. Nowhere in Scripture is this point better illustrated than in 1 Samuel 17 where David as a young shepherd boy fearlessly slew the Philistine, Goliath. Shortly before the duel, we see direct evidence of David’s faith when David says, “‘The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.’ And Saul said to David, ‘Go, and the LORD be with you!’” (verse 37). David was fully aware that God was in control of his life, and he had faith that God would deliver him from impending danger. How else would one venture into a potentially fatal situation with such calm and confidence? David knew early on in life that God was to be trusted and obeyed. As we see in Scripture, David’s faith pleased God, and God rewards David for his faithfulness.
Another reason David was a man after God’s own heart is that he absolutely loved God’s Law. Of the 150 psalms in the Bible, David is credited for writing over half of them. Writing at various and often troubling times in his life, David repeatedly mentioned how much he loved God’s perfect Word. We find a beautiful example of this in Psalm 119:47–48: “For I delight in your commands because I love them. I lift up my hands to your commands, which I love, and I meditate on your decrees.” It is not hard to see his complete adoration for God’s Word. Also notice how David “meditates” on God’s statutes. God granted David understanding and wisdom through daily meditation. We would do well to not only read God’s Word but also think about it throughout the day, for God loves us to think about Him. “Blessed are they who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart. They do nothing wrong; they walk in his ways” (Psalm 119:2–3).
David was a man after God’s own heart in that he was truly thankful. “I wash my hands in innocence, and go about your altar, O LORD, proclaiming aloud your praise and telling of all your wonderful deeds” (Psalm 26:6–7). David’s life was marked by seasons of great peace and prosperity as well as times of fear and despair. But through all of the seasons in his life, he never forgot to thank the Lord for everything that he had. It is truly one of David’s finest characteristics. “Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!” (Psalm 100:4, ESV). As followers of Jesus Christ, we would do well to follow David’s lead of offering praise through thanksgiving to our Lord.
After he sinned, David was truly repentant. David’s sin with Bathsheba is recorded in 2 Samuel 11:2–5. The mighty fall hard, and David’s fall included adultery, lying, and murder. He had sinned against God, and he admits it in 2 Samuel 12:13: “David said to Nathan, ‘I have sinned against the LORD.’ And Nathan said to David, ‘The LORD also has put away your sin; you shall not die.’” But admitting our sin and asking for forgiveness is only half of the equation. The other half is repentance, and David did that as well. Psalm 51 is David’s prayer of repentance to God: “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin!" (Psalm 51:1–2).
In conclusion, David was a man after God’s own heart because he demonstrated his faith and was committed to following the Lord. Yes, his faith was tested on a grand scale, and he failed at times. But after his sin he sought and received the Lord’s forgiveness. In the final analysis, David loved God’s Law and sought to follow it exactly. As a man after God’s own heart, David is a role model for all of us.
When David, king of Israel, was old and about to die, he began preparing his successor, Solomon, to become king of Israel. David gave him detailed instructions about how to build a magnificent temple for the Lord (1 Chronicles 28:10-13). Likely David also gave Solomon much advice about how to rule a nation of several million people. But the most important counsel David gave was this: “And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father” (1 Chronicles 28:9). This advice given by an aged king of Israel nearly three thousand years ago is still very important counsel. AMEN.
A person begins to know the Lord when he repents of his sins and believes in Christ as his Lord and Savior. But truly knowing God goes far beyond this first step. Knowing God involves understanding His character. Knowing God means to love and serve Him. To know God is to walk in fellowship with Him; it speaks of a living relationship with a living God.
Those who truly know God are also known by God (John 10:14). In the Day of Judgment Christ will say to some who claim to know the Lord, “I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Matthew 7:23). This warning should compel us to make certain that we do indeed know the Lord, lest Christ say to us, “I never knew you.”
Many today know their friends or their jobs or sports or politics—but few know the Lord. Many simply do not care about knowing God. They would rather know the many vain pursuits of this world than know the Creator of the universe. God longs for us to know Him. For this purpose we were created. Knowing God is the only thing that will truly satisfy our souls.
Week # 3
1) Who anointed David as king?
2) Who killed Goliath?
3) Who was Uriah’s wife?
4) Who said to David “You are that man."?
5) Who revolted against David?
6) Who is the son of David and Bathsheba who succeeded David?
7) Who was Saul’s son and David’s friend?
1). How can we know God?
2). How can we understand God’s character?
3). What was Moses’ prayer for himself?
4). What do Jeremiah 9:23-24 says?
5). What is the revelation of knowing God’s character?
6). How does God’s lovingkindness show?
7). What was Apostle Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians?
8). If we don’t know God, what should we do?
9). What kind of anger do God have?
10). On Judgment Day who will be judged?
11). How do we live righteous?
12). Name some ways David was a man after God’s own heart.
13). What did David’s fall include?
14). What was the most important counsel David gave his son Solomon?
15). What does John 10:14 say?
16). What is the most important words a Christian do not want to hear from God?
17). What will truly satisfy our souls?
Weekly Psalm of King David: Psalm 30
Weekly Prayer of David: Psalm 142
Self-Examination Time: What can you do today to stay The Course?
Weekly Reading Assignment: Proverbs 9-12