This is Dr. J. Vernon McGee’s entire 5-year Bible study series. The mission of Thru the Bible Radio is to take the whole Word to the whole world.
There is no substitute for personal prayer, fellowship with the Lord, and personal study of His Word.
The morning headlines hit us with alarm as we realize we’re drawing closer to the season of our Lord’s return. One of our great comforts is what the Bible says about the Lord shielding His people in times like these.
– Psalm 17 says we are hidden under the shadow of His wings.
– Psalm 27 says we are hidden in the shelter of His tabernacle.
– Isaiah 49 says we are hidden in the shadow of His hand.
– Psalm 32 says that God is our hiding place.
– And Colossians 3 says our lives are hidden with Christ in God.
When you read a frightening headline, remind yourself that you are hidden in the hollow of His hand, and He will keep you from the coming Day of Judgment. He will preserve your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forever. He will preserve your soul. That frees us from fear, allowing us to preach the Word with boldness and to smile with inner joy as the time draws closer.
He hideth my life in the depths of His love, and covers me there with His hand. Fanny Crosby, in the hymn “He Hideth My Soul”
Sin does not play favorites. It works its way into everyone’s life without regard to age, race, or economic status. Regardless of the form it takes, sin always tempts us to choose our own way over God’s way. Rebellion is harmful and addictive, and repetitions of sinful behavior lead to more of the same, until the action is so ingrained in our lives that we cannot stop. We become enslaved to it.
The descent into a pattern of disobedience begins in our minds. Once our thinking is involved, the influence extends to our behavior, eventually progressing until we are more entrenched than we ever imagined. Deception permeates the whole process. We tell ourselves there is no harm in what we’re doing—after all, other people behave the same way.
Sin’s demands keep increasing, and yet its benefits are only short-term. Eventually, we experience emptiness instead of satisfaction, pain in place of comfort, and loss rather than gain. Habitual sin splits our mind and emotions. Then we spend less time meeting our responsibilities and more time satisfying cravings. Our care and concern for others diminish, too. Over time, feelings of guilt and entrapment can take their toll and lead toward self-destruction.
Faith in Jesus Christ sets us free from the domination of sin in our lives. Through the Holy Spirit, we have the power to say no to the habits that control us. The road to freedom starts with confession, followed by an admission that we cannot stop on our own. Committing to follow God’s direction is next. The struggle may be fierce, but in Jesus, victory is assured (1 Cor. 15:57).
“The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts.” (Psalm 10:4)
It is significant that the word “wicked” does not necessarily mean morally depraved or violently dangerous. It is essentially synonymous with “ungodly” and the Hebrew word (rasha) used here is often so translated. This tenth psalm provides a graphic summary of their real character. They are:
1. Proud. “The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God” (v. 4).
2. Fawning. “For the wicked . . . blesseth the covetous, whom the LORD abhorreth” (v. 3).
3. Atheistic, at least in behavior. “He hath said in his heart, God hath forgotten: . . . he will never see it” (v. 11).
4. Stubborn. “He hath said in his heart, I shall not be moved: for I shall never be in adversity” (v. 6).
5. Profane. “His mouth is full of cursing . . . : under his tongue is mischief and vanity” (v. 7).
6. Hurtful. “In the secret places doth he murder the innocent” (v. 8). This surely applies to character assassination, when not to actual killing.
7. Deceptive. “His mouth is full of . . . deceit and fraud: . . . He lieth in wait secretly as a lion in his den” (vv. 7, 9).
It is significant that the apostle Paul cited verse 7 (“full of cursing”) as descriptive of most of the ancient pagans in his day, and it can sadly be applied to many modern pagans as well.
But David said: “I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a green bay tree. Yet he passed away, and, lo, he was not” (Psalm 37:35-36). “For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish” (Psalm 1:6). HMM
They shall speak of the glory of thy kingdom, and talk of thy power; to make known to the sons of men his mighty acts, and the glorious majesty of his kingdom. —Psalm 145:11-12
If you want to pray strategically, in a way which would please God, pray that God might raise up men who would see the beauty of the Lord our God and would begin to preach it and hold it out to people, instead of offering peace of mind, deliverance from
cigarettes, a better job and a nicer cottage….
What good is all our busy religion if God isn’t in it? What good is it if we’ve lost majesty, reverence, worship—an awareness of the divine? What good is it if we’ve lost a sense of the Presence and the ability to retreat within our own hearts and meet God in the garden? If we’ve lost that, why build another church? Why make more converts to an effete Christianity? Why bring people to follow after a Savior so far off that He doesn’t own them?
We need to improve the quality of our Christianity, and we never will until we raise our concept of God back to that held by apostle, sage, prophet, saint and reformer. When we put God back where He belongs, we will instinctively and automatically move up again; the whole spiral of our religious direction will be upward.
Lord, may I learn to see You not as a functional God who fulfills my requests but as a beautiful God of glorious majesty. May I hold that concept out for others to see, that they might also behold Your majesty. Amen.
Be still, and know that I am God. (Psalm 46:10)
Prayer among evangelical Christians is always in danger of degenerating into a glorified “gold rush.” Almost every book on prayer deals with the “get” element mainly. How to get things we want from God occupies most of our space.
Christians should never forget that the highest kind of prayer is never the making of requests.
Prayer at its holiest moment is the entering into God to a place of such blessed union as makes miracles seem tame and remarkable answers to prayer appear something very far short of wonderful, by comparison.
We should be aware that there is a kind of school where the soul must go to learn its best eternal lessons. It is the school of silence. “Be still and know,” said the psalmist.
It might well be a revelation to some Christians if they were to get completely quiet for a time—a time to listen in the silence for the deep voice of the Eternal God!
It is marvelous that the men who most of all rail at faith, are remarkable for credulity. Not caring to have God in their hearts, forsaking the living fountain, they have hewn out to themselves cisterns which are broken, and hold no water. Oh, that we may each of us be more wise, that we may not forsake the good old path, nor leave the way that God hath prepared for us. What wonder we should travel amongst thorns and briars, and rend our own flesh, or worse than that, fall among dark mountains, and be lost among the chasms thereof, if we despise the guidance of our unerring Father.