The Bridge of Confession

I said, “I will confess my sins to the LORD,” and you forgave my guilt. PSALM 32:5

Once there were a couple of farmers who couldn’t get along with each other. A wide ravine separated their two farms, but as a sign of their mutual distate for each other, each constructed a fence on his side of the chasm to keep the other out.

In time, however, the daughter of one met the son of the other, and the couple fell in love. Determined not to be kept apart by the folly of their fathers, they tore down the fence and used the wood to build a bridge across the ravine.

Confession does that. Confessed sin becomes the bridge over which we can walk back into the presence of God.

In the Grip of Grace

The Patience of God

2 Peter 3:3-9

More than likely, you heard the gospel several times before you trusted Jesus as your Savior. Sometimes even though we know the truth, we decide to continue with our life as it is. Why does the Lord tolerate this deliberate sin?

Patience is an attribute of God; it can be seen through His goodness in withholding punishment from those involved in long-term sin. He has a motivation and purpose for His patience. God places a high value on us as His created beings. He waits patiently because He desires to see each one of us come to a saving knowledge of His Son Jesus Christ. That is His primary purpose.

The Father’s secondary reasons for being patient apply to us as believers. He understands our innate carnality and the sinful tendencies that result from it. He also recognizes our weakness and imma- turity in the Christian life. We have much to learn once we are saved, and God does not expect us to know everything at once. We can, however, abuse God’s patience by misinterpreting it (Ps. 50:21). Have you ever done something you knew was wrong?

Sometimes when nothing happens as a result of a particular sin, we think God has overlooked it. We may decide to continue in that behavior, which further abuses the Lord’s patience. But God is very clear that He will not strive with us forever (103:9). That is to say, we cannot continue in our disobedience consequence-free. Has God been convicting you of a sin that you are ignoring? Confess (agree with Him that it is wrong), repent (turn away from the sin), and thank Him for His patience with you.

Sinning Against God

“Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight.” (Psalm 51:4)

Today’s verse is remarkable in light of the events that preceded it. David penned these words after committing adultery with Bathsheba and then murdering Uriah. As king of Israel, his private sins affected not only his immediate victims, but also, indirectly, the entire nation. The New Testament makes it clear that people can be sinned against (Matthew 18:15; Luke 17:3-4; 1 Corinthians 8:12), yet David confessed that his sins were only against God. How could this be?

The rest of the verse explains David’s confession: “That thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.” Paul quoted this phrase in the New Testament to justify God’s final authority in every matter (Romans 3:4). David’s sins were only against God because God is the only Lawgiver.

This logic finds its basis in creation. Because God created the universe and everything in it, including humans, God owns the entire universe, including humans. Therefore, He determines how His property should be used. Adultery and murder are wrong because the Owner of human bodies has decreed that humans should not use them for adultery or murder. The fact of creation explains David’s confession.

God’s character and nature also explain David’s statement. God is the standard by which He measures us. He is “the habitation of justice” (Jeremiah 50:7). “God is love” (1 John 4:8). The Lord proclaimed Himself “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). All sins are against God because He owns us and because He embodies the standard that He sets for us. NTJ

And Caleb said unto her

“And Caleb said unto her, What wouldest thou? Who answered, give me a blessing;for thou hast given me a south land; give me also springs of water. And he gave her the upper springs, and the nether springs.” (Joshua 15:18,19.)

THERE are both upper and nether springs. They are springs, not stagnant pools. There are joys and blessings that flow from above through the hottest summer and the most desert land of sorrow and trial. The lands of Achsah were “south lands,” lying under a burning sun and often parched with burning heat. But from the hills came the unfailing springs, that cooled, refreshed and fertilized all the land.

There are springs that flow in the low places of life, in the hard places, in the desert places, in the lone places, in the common places, and no matter what may be our situation, we can always find these upper springs.

Abraham found them amid the hills of Canaan. Moses found them among the rocks of Midian. David found them among the ashes of Ziklag when his property was gone, his family captives and his people talked of stoning him, but “David encouraged himself in the Lord.”

Habakkuk found them when the fig tree was withered and the fields were brown, but as he drank from them he could sing: “Yet will I rejoice in the Lord and joy in the God of my salvation.”

Isaiah found them in the awful days of Sennacherib’s invasion, when the mountains seemed hurled into the midst of the sea, but faith could sing: “There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God. God is in the midst of her: she shall not be moved.”

The martyrs found them amid the flames, and reformers amid their foes and conflicts, and we can find them all the year if we have the Comforter in our hearts and have learned to say with David: “All my springs are in thee.”

How many and how precious these springs, and how much more there is to be possessed of God’s own fulness!—A. B. Simpson.

I said: “The desert is so wide!”
I said: “The desert is so bare!
What springs to quench my thirst are there?
Whence shall I from the tempest hide?”

I said: “The desert is so lone!
Nor gentle voice, nor loving face
Will brighten any smallest space.”
I paused or ere my moan was done!

I heard a flow of hidden springs;
Before me palms rose green and fair;
The birds were singing; all the air
Did shine and stir with angels’ wings!

And One said mildly: “Why, indeed,
Take over-anxious thought for that
The morrow bringeth! See you not
The Father knoweth what you need?”
—Selected.

They shall rejoice, and shall see the plummet in the hand of Zerubbabel

“They shall rejoice, and shall see the plummet in the hand of Zerubbabel.” Zechariah 4:10

Small things marked the beginning of the work in the hand of Zerubbabel, but none might despise it, for the Lord had raised up one who would persevere until the headstone should be brought forth with shoutings. The plummet was in good hands. Here is the comfort of every believer in the Lord Jesus; let the work of grace be ever so small in its beginnings, the plummet is in good hands, a master builder greater than Solomon has undertaken the raising of the heavenly temple, and He will not fail nor be discouraged till the topmost pinnacle shall be raised.

If the plummet were in the hand of any merely human being, we might fear for the building, but the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in Jesus’ hand. The works did not proceed irregularly, and without care, for the master’s hand carried a good instrument. Had the walls been hurriedly run up without due superintendence, they might have been out of the perpendicular; but the plummet was used by the chosen overseer. Jesus is evermore watching the erection of His spiritual temple, that it may be built securely and well. We are for haste, but Jesus is for judgment. He will use the plummet, and that which is out of line must come down, every stone of it. Hence the failure of many a flattering work, the overthrow of many a glittering profession. It is not for us to judge the Lord’s church, since Jesus has a steady hand, and a true eye, and can use the plummet well. Do we not rejoice to see judgment left to Him?

The plummet was in active use—it was in the builder’s hand; a sure indication that he meant to push on the work to completion. O Lord Jesus, how would we indeed be glad if we could see Thee at Thy great work. O Zion, the beautiful, thy walls are still in ruins! Rise, Thou glorious Builder, and make her desolations to rejoice at Thy coming.

Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might

“Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might.” Ecclesiastes 9:10

“Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do,” refers to works that are possible. There are many things which our heart findeth to do which we never shall do. It is well it is in our heart; but if we would be eminently useful, we must not be content with forming schemes in our heart, and talking of them; we must practically carry out “whatsoever our hand findeth to do.” One good deed is more worth than a thousand brilliant theories. Let us not wait for large opportunities, or for a different kind of work, but do just the things we “find to do” day by day. We have no other time in which to live.

The past is gone; the future has not arrived; we never shall have any time but time present. Then do not wait until your experience has ripened into maturity before you attempt to serve God. Endeavour now to bring forth fruit. Serve God now, but be careful as to the way in which you perform what you find to do—”do it with thy might.” Do it promptly; do not fritter away your life in thinking of what you intend to do tomorrow as if that could recompense for the idleness of today. No man ever served God by doing things tomorrow. If we honour Christ and are blessed, it is by the things which we do today. Whatever you do for Christ throw your whole soul into it. Do not give Christ a little slurred labour, done as a matter of course now and then; but when you do serve Him, do it with heart, and soul, and strength.

But where is the might of a Christian? It is not in himself, for he is perfect weakness. His might lieth in the Lord of Hosts. Then let us seek His help; let us proceed with prayer and faith, and when we have done what our “hand findeth to do,” let us wait upon the Lord for His blessing. What we do thus will be well done, and will not fail in its effect.