Daily Archives: November 6, 2019

November 6 God’s Way Is Best

Scripture Reading: 1 Samuel 13:5–15

Key Verses: 1 Samuel 13:13–14

And Samuel said to Saul, “You have done foolishly. You have not kept the commandment of the Lord your God, which He commanded you. For now the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. But now your kingdom shall not continue. The Lord has sought for Himself a man after His own heart, and the Lord has commanded him to be commander over His people, because you have not kept what the Lord commanded you.”

Saul grew impatient. He wanted to start the offering ceremony so he could fight the Philistines, but Samuel had not yet arrived. It was imperative that they sacrifice to the Lord before a battle!

The army began scattering, so Saul took action. He made the sacrifice even though he knew it was not what the Lord had commanded. He assumed that details of the offering were not as important as getting it done.

When Samuel returned, he was furious. He rebuked Saul’s foolish actions (1 Samuel 13:13–14).

Saul had only violated a few details of the command, yet he sinned by considering his way better than God’s and choosing his timing above God’s. Matthew Henry comments, “He covered his disobedience to God’s command with a pretense of concern for God’s favor. Hypocrites lay a great stress upon the external performances of religion, thinking thereby to excuse their neglect of the weightier matters of the law.”

Serve God out of love, respect, and obedience. Allow God to lead you in His way, and He will show you greater victories than you could have contrived on your own.

Lord, You desire above all else a loving, obedient heart. Let me not hide hypocritically behind the practice of religion but, rather, serve You sincerely.[1]

 

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2006). Pathways to his presence (p. 325). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

November 6 The Key to Listening

Scripture Reading: 2 Samuel 7

Key Verse: Psalm 46:10

Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!

God had just made a covenant with David. Among many things, God promised to give him a son (Solomon), who would someday build the temple for God that David had dreamed of. The throne of rulership over Israel would never depart from David’s house, though interrupted at times, and would one day find its ultimate fulfillment in Jesus Christ.

What an overwhelming set of promises, and what a mighty demonstration of complete grace! God made this covenant with David before he sinned with Bathsheba. God knew what David would soon do, but He in grace chose to love him and establish a never-ending relationship with him. David’s response to God’s words through the prophet Nathan is a prime example of why David is called “a man after [God’s] own heart” (1 Sam. 13:14 nasb).

David’s heart priority was on worshiping and loving his God. He said, “Now therefore, O Lord God, the word that Thou hast spoken concerning Thy servant and his house, confirm it forever, and do as Thou hast spoken” (2 Sam. 7:25 nasb).

God desires your humble worship, thanksgiving, and the complete giving over of your heart to Him. That is what David did, and that is why his fellowship with God was so sweet. If you seek intimacy with God, falling down before Him in worship is the place of beginning.

Master, I seek a greater intimacy with You. I know it will come through worship, so teach me how to worship in spirit and truth.[1]

 

[1] Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 325). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

November 6, 2019 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)

REUTERS

U.S. Democrats claimed an upset win in Kentucky on Tuesday over a Republican governor backed by President Donald Trump and seized control of the state legislature in Virginia, where anti-Trump sentiment in the suburbs remained a potent force.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her coalition partners said on Wednesday they would keep working together after welcoming a report which they said showed how much the government had achieved but also how much it still had to do.

Iran has stepped up activity at its underground Fordow nuclear plant, state TV said on Wednesday, a move France said showed for the first time that Tehran explicitly planned to quit a deal with world powers that curbed its disputed nuclear work.

The United States was very encouraged by a recent meeting between the leaders of South Korea and Japan, a senior U.S. diplomat said on Wednesday, amid heightened tensions that could undercut three-way security cooperation on North Korea.

Cyprus on Wednesday said it had started a process to strip 26 individuals of citizenship they received under a secretive passports-for-investment scheme, admitting it had flaws.

American workers were unexpectedly less productive during the third quarter, with growth in their output failing to keep up with hours worked.

Iraqi security forces fired tear gas and live rounds into the air to disperse protesters in central Baghdad on Wednesday as the biggest wave of anti-government demonstrations in decades spread out across the capital.

AP Top Stories

The U.S. birthrate is currently at its lowest in 32 years, with 2018 being the fourth consecutive year of decline. Usually births increase at times of economic stability, so these latest numbers have led demographers to wonder what else is on prospective parents’ minds.

Mexican authorities have made an arrest they believe may be connected to the ambush killings of nine Americans in northern Mexico earlier this week.

On Tuesday, the US invited international media to see part of the IMX, the second-largest maritime exercise of its kind. The maneuvers involve 5,000 personnel, 40 vessels and 17 aircrafts from 50 countries deployed to the strategic waterway that separates Iran from the pro-US Arab Gulf monarchies.

A 38-year-old man is scheduled to be executed in Texas on Wednesday, 14 years after he was convicted of strangling a woman so she would not tell police about a drug house where he and members of his white supremacist gang gathered.

Voters in Tucson have rejected an initiative making it Arizona’s only sanctuary city. Tucson voters have elected their first Latina mayor. Democrat Regina Romero was overwhelmingly elected to lead Arizona’s second-largest city. She’ll be the first woman to lead Tucson and the first Hispanic since 1875, nearly four decades before Arizona became a state.

Mohave County, Arizona declares itself a ‘Second Amendment Sanctuary County’ in a symbolic commitment to gun owners.

Republicans strengthened their dominance in Mississippi by keeping the governorship and picking up the last remaining statewide office that has been held by a Democrat.

A parasitic worm typically found in cattle has been discovered in a woman’s eye in what scientists have warned may be an “emerging zoonotic disease” in the U.S. The 68-year-old woman is the second human to have become infected by the parasite.

The United States is deeply troubled by reports the Chinese government has “harassed, imprisoned, or arbitrarily detained” relatives of Uighur Muslim activists and survivors of internment camps who have made their stories public, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said.

The United States on Tuesday vowed to maintain maximum pressure to topple Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro as it slapped sanctions on five more officials.

Fifteen jihadists were killed in Tajikistan Wednesday during an attack on a border post that officials blamed on members of the Islamic State group who crossed over from Afghanistan.

Nearly six in ten Russians, up from 42% in 2017,want “decisive and full-scale changes” in the country amid growing discontent with the authorities over living standards, according to research.

BBC

An outspoken critic of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s anti-drug war has accepted his offer to help steer the campaign. Vice-President Leni Robredo will now co-chair the government committee tackling the problem.

A knifeman has injured four foreign tourists and four locals in an attack in the Jordanian city of Jerash. Three Mexicans and a Swiss national were among the wounded. One of the Mexicans and a Jordanian tour guide were hurt seriously, the health minister said.

WND

A new study from the National Bureau of Economic Research shows the downside to the promises of “free college” that Democratic presidential candidates are promoting. Some 86% of American households “would lose” under the touted plans, the study concludes.

An anonymous insider has leaked a video of ABC anchor Amy Robach lamenting that her network spiked a bombshell investigation of Jeffrey Epstein story three years ago. “We had … Clinton, we had everything,” Robach says on the “hot mic” video.

Philadelphia — It was a rocky start on Election Day in Philadelphia, where new touchscreen voting machines were rolled out. A judge of elections says some of the new voting machines were not taking paper ballots that need to be inserted in them. The polling place where the issue took place was at Fire Company Engine 13 on the 1500 block of Parrish Street in the Fairmount section of the city.

The increasing use of social media by governments to manipulate elections and monitor citizens has resulted in a decline in global internet freedom for a ninth consecutive year, according to an annual assessment by the Washington, D.C., think tank Freedom House.


Mid-Day Snapshot · Nov. 6, 2019

The Foundation

“Excessive taxation … will carry reason and reflection to every man’s door, and particularly in the hour of election.” —Thomas Jefferson (1798)

State Elections a Mixed Bag for GOP

Dems win control of Virginia while the GOP wins Mississippi. Kentucky was a toss-up.


ABC Spiked Epstein Story to Help Clinton

Editorial standards keep a damaging interview off the air. Brett Kavanaugh, anyone?


Conservatives Are Happier, More Generous Than Liberals

Another study confirms that leftists are the angry, unhappy, and stingy ones.


Incremental Progress on Immigration

President Trump has made positive changes that are working, even if judges thwart other things.


Trump Begins Exit From Socialist Paris Climate Agreement

U.S. will be officially out of the agreement one day after the 2020 presidential election.


What’s Really Wrong With American Public Schools?

Poverty, low attendance, and negative peer influence all trace back to fatherlessness.


Video: America Needs a Hate Speech Law?

Matt Christiansen on a recent Washington Post op-ed advocating a law about “hate speech.”


Video: Can’t Flee Onerous Tax and Regulatory Policies?

Stand against them! Allen West points to the contrast between California and Texas.



Today’s Opinion

Gary Bauer
Murder in Mexico
Star Parker
Impeachment About Ideology, Not the Constitution
L. Brent Bozell & Tim Graham
Twitter Tilts 2020 With an Ad Ban
Michelle Malkin
Three Cheers for Refugee Reduction
Walter E. Williams
Disproportionalities: Whose Fault?
For more of today’s columns, visit Right Opinion.

Wednesday Top News Executive Summary

Tuesday’s election results, ABC’s bogus standards, Senate GOP united, and more.


Wednesday Short Cuts

Notable quotables from John Hayward, Erick Erickson, Charlie Kirk, and more.



Today’s Meme

For more of today’s memes, visit the Memesters Union.

Today’s Cartoon

For more of today’s cartoons, visit the Cartoons archive.

Headlines – 11/6/2019

‘Unity government is dead – Israel headed for another election’

Fatah official: Abbas won’t seek reelection

Likud MK pushes PM on West Bank annexation

Hamas threatens cut in financial aid to Gaza will lead to escalation in violence

US Jewish umbrella group slams Democratic hopefuls’ calls to leverage Israel aid

Rivlin urges ‘anti-Semitism czars’ to urgent action

In probe transcripts, police threaten key witness against Netanyahu with loss of assets

AG to check alleged police wrongdoing in grilling of witness against Netanyahu

Russia reportedly in possession of advanced Israeli interceptor missile

IDF Operations Head: Threat posed by Iran is not ‘fear-mongering’

Rouhani: Iran to continue scaling back commitments to nuclear deal

Iran further violates 2015 deal by injecting gas into Fordow centrifuges

Netanyahu: Iran’s decision to enrich uranium at Fordow endangers the world

As Iran expands enrichment, Netanyahu vows it will never have nukes

EU, Russia express concern over Iran’s announcement of new enrichment

US accuses Iran of ‘nuclear extortion’ as Tehran expands enrichment at key plant

Trump OKs wider Syria oil mission, raising legal questions

ISIS Tells Followers to Set Forest Fires in U.S., Europe

Iraqi forces shoot dead 13 protesters in renewed crackdown

‘They Have Stolen Everything From Us’: Iraq’s Anti-Government Protests Continue

The World’s Protesters Want to Soak the Rich, But That’s Not All

Under shroud of secrecy US weapons arrive in Yemen despite Congressional outrage

Gunmen kill 15 in southern Thailand’s worst attack in years

Anti-police violence surges in the tough suburbs of Paris

Did Russia interfere in Brexit?: An unpublished report roils U.K. politics before election

UK’s Johnson to launch election bid with promise to ‘get Brexit done’

Boris Johnson’s Brexit trade deal with Trump would force the UK to accept food contaminated with maggots and rat hair, warns Jeremy Corbyn

India is opting out of a China-backed trade deal. That could hurt its economy

McConnell says Senate would acquit Trump if trial held today

DOJ will fight impeachment subpoenas unless Trump administration witnesses are allowed attorneys

Impeachment reversal: Diplomat now acknowledges quid pro quo

Impeachment probe: Diplomat says he knew why US aid withheld

Lindsey Graham calls latest impeachment inquiry ‘a bunch of BS’ after new transcripts released

Most Republicans on impeachment committees aren’t showing up, transcripts reveal

Republicans break with Trump and Rand Paul on whistleblower unmasking

Rand Paul doubles down on call for whistleblower to come forward, slams Hunter Biden

Kentucky outcome embarrasses Trump and worries many Republicans ahead of 2020

Democrats will control Virginia House and Senate for the first time in more than two decades

Virginia cyclist who flipped off Trump’s motorcade wins race for local office

Federal Officials Warn Russia, China And Iran Want To Interfere In The 2020 Election

‘Deep fake’ videos could upend an election – but Silicon Valley may have a way to combat them

Clinton says Facebook chief should ‘pay price’ for endangering US democracy

California DMV ‘inappropriately’ shared customers’ Social Security information with feds

Amazon Alexa, Apple’s Siri and Google Assistant can be hacked using lasers, experts warn

Report: Instagram, other apps sold in Google, Apple app stores being used to facilitate human trafficking

Mass Cellphone Outages During CA Fires Raise Question About What Will Happen After Major Quake

6.3 magnitude earthquake hits near the South Sandwich Islands

5.9 magnitude earthquake hits near Sola, Vanuatu

5.8 magnitude earthquake hits near Sola, Vanuatu

5.3 magnitude earthquake hits near Lar, Iran

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Sola, Vanuatu

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Merizo Village, Guam

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Farkhar, Afghanistan

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Santa Maria Huazolotitlan, Mexico

Sabancaya volcano in Peru erupts to 27,000ft

Popocateptl volcano in Mexico erupts to 21,000ft

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 15,000ft

Sakurajima volcano on Japan erupts to 14,000ft

Nevados De Chilla volcano in Chile erupts to 14,000ft

Copahue volcano in Chile erupts to 12,000ft

Sangeang Api volcano in Indonesia erupts to 10,000ft

Super typhoon Halong among strongest storms ever seen on Earth

Tropical storm, strong winds, headed for Vietnam and Thailand

Tropical Cyclone Maha has no impact on UAE: NCM

2019 North Indian Ocean cyclone season breaks named storm days record

11,000 scientists warn of ‘untold suffering due to the climate crisis’

Donald Trump Continues to Attack California During Wildfires: ‘Los Angeles Looks Like a Third-world City’

Climate Change Is Disrupting Centuries-Old Methods Of Winemaking In France

Earth Needs Fewer People to Beat the Climate Crisis, Scientists Say

Parasitic worms found in woman’s eye as scientists warn of ’emerging’ disease

People are posting their genitals on Reddit to ‘diagnose’ STDs

Finnish Politician, Pastor’s Wife Accused of ‘Incitement of Hatred’ Over Booklet ‘Male and Female He Created Them’

Thousands protest across Spain after men cleared of raping unconscious 14-year-old girl: ‘People are raging’

Mexican cartel massacre: 9 Americans, including 6 children, from Mormon offshoot murdered

Woman whose sister-in-law was killed in massacre near the US-Mexico border says cartels have targeted them before

Trump calls for ‘war’ against Mexican drug cartel ‘monsters’ after Americans murdered

Russian Court Sentences Jehovah’s Witness To 6 Years In Prison For ‘Extremism’


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“A simple layman armed with Scripture is to be believed above a pope or a council without it…” – Martin Luther

Crucial Questions: 32 Free eBooks from R.C. Sproul | Ligonier Ministries

To further help Christians know what they believe, why they believe it, how to live it, and how to share it, in May 2013 we made the ebook editions of R.C. Sproul’s Crucial Questions series free forever. We continue to publish new ebooks in this series and this year have added What Is Predestination? and Why Should I Join a Church?

 

Here is a complete list of the free ebooks in the Crucial Questions series

You can also download the free collection from Logos.

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Source: Crucial Questions: 32 Free eBooks from R.C. Sproul

November 6 The Storms of Life

Scripture reading: 1 Peter 5:9–11

Key verse: 2 Timothy 2:12

If we endure,

We shall also reign with Him.

If we deny Him,

He also will deny us.

Seventeenth-century theologian François Fénelon stated:

We have much trouble convincing ourselves of the kindness with which God crushes those he loves with crosses. Why take pleasure, we say, in making us suffer? Would he not know how to make us good without making us miserable? Yes, doubtless, God could do so, because nothing is impossible for him …

But God, who could have saved us without crosses, has not wished to do so … what we see clearly, is that we cannot become entirely good except as we become humble, disinterested, detached from ourselves, in order to relate everything to God without any turning back upon ourselves …

God never makes trouble for us except in spite of himself, so to speak. His father’s heart does not try to desolate us. But he cuts to the quick to cure the ulcer of our heart. He has to take from us what we love too dearly, what we love in the wrong way and without discretion, what we love to the prejudice of his love.

There can be only one goal for the life of the believer, and that is to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength” (Deut. 6:5). When trials come, know that God’s presence surrounds you. There is a purpose for every storm; therefore, pray for the strength to be found faithful.

Lord, thank You for Your presence, which surrounds me in the midst of the storm. Help me realize that each gale of life has purpose. Give me the strength to be found faithful.[1]

 

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2000). Into His presence (p. 325). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

November 6, 2019 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

Mysticism

Let no one keep defrauding you of your prize by delighting in self-abasement and the worship of the angels, taking his stand on visions he has seen, inflated without cause by his fleshly mind, and not holding fast to the head, from whom the entire body, being supplied and held together by the joints and ligaments, grows with a growth which is from God. (2:18–19)

Mysticism may be defined as the pursuit of a deeper or higher subjective religious experience. It is the belief that spiritual reality is perceived apart from the human intellect and natural senses. It looks for truth internally, weighing feelings, intuition, and other internal sensations more heavily than objective, observable, external data. Mysticism ultimately derives its authority from a self-actualized, self-authenticated light rising from within. This irrational and anti-intellectual approach is the antithesis of Christian theology. The false teachers claimed a mystical union with God. Paul exhorts the Colossians not to allow those false teachers to keep defrauding them of their prize. It was as if the heretics assumed the role of spiritual referees and disqualified the Colossians for not abiding by their rules.

Self-abasement translates tapeinophrosunē, which is usually rendered “humility.” The NASB translation emphasizes the negative use of the term in the present context. The humility of the Colossian errorists was a false humility. They were delighting in it, meaning their supposed humility was nothing but ugly pride. It was like that of Uriah Heep, one of the most contemptible characters of English literature, who said, “I am well aware that I am the ’umblest person going” (chapter 16 of Charles Dickens’s David Copperfield).

The false teachers had a far more serious problem than false humility, however. They also engaged in the worship of the angels, thus denying the truth that there is “one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Tim. 2:5).

The worship of angels was a heresy that was to plague the Phrygian region (where Colossae was located) for centuries. Commentator William Hendriksen notes that in a.d. 363 a church synod was held in Colossae’s sister city of Laodicea. It declared, “It is not right for Christians to abandon the church of God and go away to invoke angels” (Canon 25) (cited in Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon. New Testament Commentary [Grand Rapids: Baker, 1981], p. 126). The early Church Father Theodoret, commenting on Colossians 2:18, wrote, “The disease which St. Paul denounces, continued for a long time in Phrygia and Pisidia” (cited in Hendriksen, p. 126). The archangel Michael was worshiped in Asia Minor as late as a.d. 739. He was also given credit for miraculous cures.

The Bible strictly forbids the worship of angels. “It is written,” Jesus told Satan, “ ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only’ ” (Matt. 4:10).

The angels themselves worship God, as Isaiah noted in his vision:

In the year of King Uzziah’s death, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple. Seraphim stood above Him, each having six wings; with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called out to another and said, “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of hosts, the whole earth is full of His glory.” And the foundations of the thresholds trembled at the voice of him who called out, while the temple was filling with smoke. (Isa. 6:1–4)

In Revelation 5:11–12, John writes, “I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, ‘Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.’ ”

When John tried to worship an angel, he was rebuked for doing so: “I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said to me, ‘Do not do that; I am a fellow servant of yours and your brethren who hold the testimony of Jesus; worship God’ ” (Rev. 19:10; cf. Rev. 22:9).

In addition to practicing false humility and worshiping angels, the false teachers were taking their stand on visions they had seen. Like many heretics and cultists down through the ages, they claimed support for their aberrant teachings in visions they had supposedly seen. Some of the worst excesses in the modern-day charismatic movement are derived from such visions. There is no need for extrabiblical revelation through visions, because “God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son” (Heb. 1:1–2, italics added).

Paul warns the Colossians not to be intimidated by the false teachers’ claims. Far from being the spiritual elite they thought themselves to be, they were inflated without cause by their fleshly minds. Being guilty of gross spiritual pride, they were devoid of the Holy Spirit. Having gone beyond the teaching of Christ (cf. 2 John 9), they were not holding fast to the head, that is, Christ (cf. Col. 1:18). He is the One from whom the entire body, being supplied and held together by the joints and ligaments, grows with a growth which is from God. Spiritual growth comes from union with Christ. Jesus says in John 15:4–5, “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from Me you can do nothing.”

There is a tendency in human nature to move from objectivity to subjectivity—to shift the focus from Christ to experience. This has always intimidated weak believers and threatened the church.

Today this brand of mysticism is most commonly seen in the charismatic movement—where Scripture is a distant second in importance to visions and revelations.

When such intimidation came from the sixteenth-century mystical charismatics of Martin Luther’s day, the great Reformer was very firm with them, clinging to biblical revelation and the centrality and sufficiency of Christ. In particular, the followers of Thomas Münzer and the radical Anabaptists gave great prominence to the work and gifts of the Spirit—and to mystical knowledge. Their cry, expressing their supra-biblical experience, was “The Spirit, the Spirit!” Luther replied, “I will not follow where their spirit leads.” When they were granted the privilege of an interview with Luther, they gave their cry “The Spirit, the Spirit!” The great Reformer was not impressed and thundered, “I slap your spirit on the snout.”

We, like the Colossians, must not be intimidated by those who would make something other than knowing Christ through His Word a requirement for spiritual maturity. Christ is all sufficient, “seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence” (2 Pet. 1:3).[1]


19 Paul considered the visionaries to be not only conceited but also misguided. He accuses them of not holding fast to or grasping hold of the Head, i.e., Christ (cf. 1:18). It is probable that the ones promoting the “philosophy” regarded themselves as Christians (so Lincoln, 632; O’Brien, xl; cf. otherwise Garland, 31). (It does in fact seem probable that the “philosophers” would have interacted with and been influenced by the Colossian synagogue[s] [cf. Dunn, 185].) Paul calls their contention into question. Their avant-garde attitude toward Christ and their elitist perspective toward other believers endangered their necessary connection to both the Head and the body. God grants nourishment, support, and growth for those attached to Christ (Eph 4:15–16). By deprecating the Head and the body, the innovators ran the risk of severing themselves from the source of and ruler over all things. Paul regards those who are not holding fast to the Head to be disjointed from and out of alignment with the body. It would have been Paul’s hope, however, that those promoting the “philosophy” would be fully restored to the body so that they too might be encouraged in love and grounded in faith (cf. 2:1–5). Paul’s theological strategy for combating the Colossian deviation was to stress Christ’s supremacy and sufficiency. His epistolary plan was to set forth an apology against and to offer remedy for the “philosophy.”[2]


19  This self-inflation and pride in private religious experiences come of not maintaining contact with the head. Here at any rate it is best to understand “head” and “body” in their physiological relation to each other. Each part of the body functions properly so long as it is under the control of the head: if it escapes from this control and begins to act independently, the consequences can be very distressing. It is under the direction of Christ, then, that the various parts of his body function harmoniously together, since they share his common life and grow to maturity under the fostering care of God, supplied with nutriment and fitted to each other by means of the “joints and ligaments.”139

In spite of Dibelius’s argument, developed in agreement with his exposition of Col. 1:18 and 2:10, that the body here is the cosmos, it is preferable by far to take the present passage in the same sense as Eph. 4:16, the body being the church. Dibelius’s interpretation, according to which the false teachers hold fast to the members of the cosmos-body (that is, to the principalities and powers) instead of to Christ as the head of that body, introduces into the argument an element which is not only un-Pauline but not really consistent with its context. What is more probably meant here is that the false teachers, by failing to maintain contact with him who is head of his body the church, have no true part in that body, since it is from Christ as their head that all the members of the body acquire their capacity to function aright in harmony with one another.[3]


19 Anthropology now makes way for Christology, with echoes also of ecclesiology. The halakic charismatics who denounce the Colossian Christians because they have not embraced their version of full conversion (halakah and asceticism) are judged by Paul to “have lost connection to the head.” The language is dramatic and might be connected to themes of apostasy, heresy, and false prophets. Furthermore, this kind of evaluation by Paul demonstrates that the halakic mystics saw themselves as Christians. If so, the halakic mystics have, like Peter and Barnabas in Antioch (Gal 2:11–14), failed to maintain a consistency on gospel inclusion of Gentiles on the basis of faith in Christ.250 Yet, the grammar may not support such a reading. The Greek says “and not grasping the head.” Both the NIV and CEB insinuate that the opponents are losing connection with the head, although the text does not go that far and may be saying only that the opponents may have “never ‘grasped’ Christ in the first place … and now find themselves like a torso without a head.”

The “head” is Christ, the head of the church (Col 1:18; 2:10; also at 1 Cor 11:3–5, 7, 10; Eph 1:22; 4:15; 5:23). From what follows in our verse the sense of “head” is that Christ is the source of unity for all the church, Jews and Gentiles, with a clear sense that the halakic mystics are drawing the Colossians away from the one body in Christ. The rest of v. 19 is a digression on Christ, something that has become a pattern in Colossians (e.g., 1:13–23; 2:3), but this digression probes beyond a fullness-Christology to explore unity and growth in and through Christ. The core sentence is “from whom the whole body … grows the growth of God”—with “supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews”254 added for colorful metaphor. The core idea is that attachment to Christ is necessary for the body of Christ to grow as God wills. The “whole body” yet again evokes the importance of Gentiles and Jews as a new family (see 3:11). God’s plan is for this body to “grow.” The cognate noun—literally “grow the growth of God”—clarifies the growth as originating in God’s own work. The issue for some is whether this is numerical growth in the sense of the church fanning across the Mediterranean with more and more local churches or whether it is moral and spiritual maturity, with little emphasis on the numerical side. There is evidence in Colossians for the first at 1:6, 10, 26–27, while there is also evidence of the second in 1:10.

Whether more in number or more in maturity, the emphasis of Paul here is unity in Christ and inclusion of Gentiles on the basis of faith instead of adherence to halakah and ascetic rigor: Christ alone is sufficient. One must notice the same emphasis on unity in Eph 4:15–16: “Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” Colossians, however, does not explore spiritual gifts as an instrument of unity. Instead, this letter reduces it to the unity that Christ alone can and does provide.[4]


Three conclusions (vv. 18–19)

Paul draws three conclusions from his declaration of freedom.

the power of error: ‘Let no one cheat you of your reward’ (v. 18; NIV: ‘disqualify you for the prize’). To follow error is to be in danger of losing the reward that awaits the faithful in Christ (Matt. 25:21; 2 Tim. 4:7–8; James 1:12).

the possibility of pride: ‘Taking delight in false humility and worship of angels … vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind’ (v. 18). The ‘spoilers’ made the Colossian believers feel inferior. But in reality they were complete in Christ and lacked nothing for salvation. ‘The worship of angels’ implies that they were being taught that the mediation of angels was a valid and necessary way to approach the Father. ‘The doctrine of angels or of a spirit world was opposed to the sole mediation of Christ, and introduced an intermediate order of beings between God and man’. In A.D. 366 the Synod of Laodicea said, ‘It is not right for Christians to abandon the church of God and go away to invoke angels’ (Canon XXV). Michael the Archangel was worshipped in Asia Minor for centuries before A.D. 739.

the principle of headship: ‘Holding fast to the head’ (v. 19). The correct view of Christ is one which submits to his authority and acknowledges his power as the head of the church. This will lead to God-given growth. Jesus is Lord. But the spoilers had not held ‘fast to the head’, they had ‘lost connection’ (NIV), and as a result the church was now faltering and was in danger of disappearing. Correct spiritual liberty will allow the body to grow.[5]


2:19 / The false teachers have fallen into error because they have stopped holding on to the Head, from whom the whole body … grows. Paul already has discussed the headship of Christ as it relates to the cosmos and the church (1:15–20; 2:10). Here he applies that concept to the problems facing the church by using the analogy of the human body (cf. 1 Cor. 12:12–31; Eph. 4:15–16). Because these false teachers have detached themselves from Christ, they have deprived themselves of the true source of nourishment and unity.

Christ himself is the only true source of life for the church, for under his control the entire body is supported (epichorēgoumenon). This is a present participle, indicating that the process of support or nourishment is a continuing one. The same continuing action applies to the unity of the body as well (symbibazomenon): Under Christ’s control the whole body is held together by its ligaments and sinews (cf. Eph. 4:16). These anatomical features provide the necessary cohesion for the body. But they can do so only if they remain joined to the head.

Under the headship of Christ, the body grows according to God’s plan. Literally, the Greek translates into an awkward phrase “it (the church) grows (unto?) the growth of God.” The basic meaning, however, is that God provides the pattern for the church’s growth; he also is the source of that growth, which is mediated through Christ, the head.

All of what Paul has been saying adds to his indictment of the false teachers for being vain and carnal (2:18). Since they have cut themselves off from the source of nourishment, unity, and growth, it follows that they are undernourished, fragmented, and stagnant. In fact, the imagery can be carried even further, for it leads to this inescapable truth: The one who separates himself from Christ, the head of the church, is cut off from the church, the body of Christ; the one who separates himself from the church is cut off from Christ, the head.[6]


Warning against Angel-Worship

18 Let no one disqualify you by delighting in humility and the worship of the angels, taking his stand on the things he has seen, without cause puffed up by his fleshly mind, 19 and not keeping firm hold on the Head, from whom the entire body, supported and held together by joints and ligaments, grows with a growth (that is) from God.

  • Turning now to the subject of angel-worship, which was one of the characteristics of the Colossian Heresy, Paul writes, Let no one disqualify you. Let no ritualist tell you, “Since you, Colossians, are not following my rules and regulations, you are not in the race or contest at all. You are unfit, unworthy.” Particularly, do not begin to feel inferior when such a person, in addition to stressing the importance of all those restrictions as to eating, drinking, etc., tries to put you to shame by his attempt to draw a sharp contrast between yourself and himself. Let him not disqualify you by his delighting in humility … Now sincere humility, is, indeed, a precious virtue (cf. Col. 3:12, and see N.T.C. on Phil. 2:3), but the humility of which this false teacher boasted was nothing but a thin disguise for insufferable pride, as is clear also from verse 23. This person was as “umble” as Uriah Heep in David Copperfield.

Paul continues, and (also delighting in) the worship of the angels. The question arises, Just what is the relation between humility and the worship of angels? The answer is not given. Perhaps the suggestion that has been offered by more than one commentator is correct, namely, that the teacher of error was trying to create the impression that he considered himself too insignificant to approach God directly, hence sought to contact Deity through the mediation of angels, and since the angels were willing to perform this service for him—or, in order that they might oblige—worshiped them.

With respect to the words here translated the worship of the angels there is much difference of opinion among commentators. Some prefer the rendering, “angelic piety” or “worship as practised by angels.” But the fact that Paul in this epistle constantly emphasizes Christ’s pre-eminence above all creatures, including the angels (Col. 1:16, 17, 20; 2:9, 15) and that he says “of the angels,” seems to indicate that he was combating angel-worship. Not only this, but there is evidence tending to support the theory that angel-worship was practised in the general region in which Colosse was located. Did not the Holy Spirit through John, the disciple whom Jesus loved, strongly condemn angel-worship? See Rev. 19:10; 22:8, 9. And did not John, during a considerable portion of his ministry, have Ephesus, only a little over one hundred miles to the west of Colosse, as his headquarters? Moreover, as has been pointed out in footnote , the Essenes, whose doctrine in certain respects resembled the one here attacked (though the Colossian errorists may not have been Essenes!), required of those who were about to be admitted to full membership an oath “carefully to guard … the names of the angels.” The Synod of Laodicea—one of the three cities of the Lycus Valley; see Introduction II A—in the year a.d. 363 declared, “It is not right for Christians to abandon the church of God and go away to invoke angels” (Canon XXV). A century afterward Theodoret, commenting on this very Scripture-passage (Col. 2:18), states, “The disease which St. Paul denounces, continued for a long time in Phrygia and Pisidia.” Irenaeus, himself from Asia Minor but widely traveled, in his work Against Heresies (a.d. 182–188), implies both the widespread presence of angel-worship in the camp of the emissaries of error and the firm stand of the primitive church against this evil practice when he states, “Nor does she [i.e. the church] perform anything by means of angelic invocations, or by incarnations, or by any other wicked curious art; but directing her prayers to the Lord who made all things … and calling on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, she has been accustomed to work miracles for the advantage of mankind, and not to lead men into error” (II.xxxii.5). It is known that Michael, a leader of the host of angels, was worshiped widely in Asia Minor, and this worship, too, continued for centuries. So, for example, as late as a.d. 739 the scene of a great victory over the Saracens was dedicated to him. His worship is also implied in inscriptions found in Galatia. And he was given credit for miraculous cures.

From all this it would seem that the rendering “the worship of the angels” is correct. For the theory according to which these angels were “astral spirits,” “rulers of the planetary spheres,” see footnote  above. And for Paul’s own teaching respecting angels see not only above, on Col. 1:16, 17; 2:15, but also N.T.C. on I and II Timothy, and Titus, pp. 183–185.

Paul continues, taking his stand on the things he has seen.101

This man pretends (perhaps even believes) to have seen something, and he presumes on this experience he has had. He makes the most of it. If any one ventures to contradict him or to question the truth of his theories, he will answer, “But I have seen such and such a vision.” In saying this and in relating the vision he will, of course, assume an air of deep insight into divinely revealed mysteries. He prides himself on what he regards as his superior knowledge. He forgets that “Knowledge puffs up but love builds up” (1 Cor. 8:1). He is, continues Paul, without cause puffed up by his fleshly mind. Note “without cause,” that is, though he is filled with an exalted opinion of himself, he has no good reason to feel this way. His mind, moreover, is distinctly the mind of the flesh, the attitude or disposition of heart and mind apart from regenerating grace. It is important in this connection to observe that for the mind to be “fleshly” or “of the flesh” it is not necessary that it be “fixed on purely physical things.”103 On the contrary, it is “of the flesh” if it bases its hope for salvation on anything apart from Christ, as verse 19 clearly indicates. Whether the ground or which it bases this confidence be physical strength, charm, good works, or, as here, transcendental visions, makes no difference. It is “the mind of the flesh” all the same. Note how Paul exposes this individual who pretends to take such pleasure in humility or self-abasement. He says, as it were, “This man who pretends to be so very humble is in reality unbearably proud. His mind is inflated with the sense of his own importance, as he brags about the things he has seen.” Contrast this tawdry behavior with respect to questionable visions with Paul’s own sensible reaction in regard to real visions (2 Cor. 12:1–14)

19. The trouble with this combination philosopher-ritualist-angel worshiper-ascetic-visionary is that he is taking his stand on the things he has seen … and not keeping firm hold on the Head. He does not cling to Christ. He fails to see that Christ is all-sufficient for salvation, and that all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden in him (Col. 2:3, 9, 10). Hence, Paul continues, from whom the entire body, supported and held together by joints and ligaments, grows with a growth (that is) from God. It should not be necessary to defend the proposition that when the apostle, having just referred to Christ as the Head, now speaks about the entire body, he is thinking about the church. That, in such a connection, this is the only possible meaning is clearly implied in such passages as Col. 1:18, 24; 3:15; Eph. 1:22, 23; 4:16.

The underlying figure in this passage is that of the growth of the human body. The aptness of Paul’s metaphor has been questioned, and this for two reasons:

Objection No. 1. The apostle implies that in a human body the head is the source of growth. This is faulty, ancient physiology.

Answer. As was indicated in connection with Col. 1:18, the hormone that is closely related to the growth of connective tissue, cartilage, and bone structure of the body originates in the pituitary gland which is housed in a small cavity in the base of the skull. And that is only one of several ways in which the head influences the growth of the body.

Objection No. 2. According to Paul “nourishment is ministered” (A.V.) to the body by joints and ligaments. Lightfoot similarly states that one of the two functions of the joints and ligaments is “to supply nutriment” (op. cit., p. 200). But we now know that it is not joints and ligaments but the bloodstream that carries nourishment to the various cells and tissues of the human body. Therefore, Paul was in error.

Answer. The proper rendering is “the entire body supported and held together by joints and ligaments.” Now the fact that the body is, indeed, thus supported and held together is common knowledge. It is not refuted by the most up to date science. Therefore, instead of hinting that the apostle is basing his argument on “loose physiology” (Moule, op. cit., p. 107), the question may well be asked whether the rendering according to which joints and ligaments “supply nutriment” (or “nourishment”) to the body is not “loose translation.”

So much for the underlying figure. Now as to the real message which the apostle is here conveying, in the light of the context it is clear that the main idea is that to Christ the entire church owes its growth. The church need not and must not look for any other source of strength to overcome sin or to increase in knowledge, virtue, and joy. Just as the human body, when properly supported and held together by joints and ligaments, experiences normal growth, so also the church, when each of its members supports and maintains loving contact with the others, will, under the sustaining care of God, proceed from grace to grace and from glory to glory (cf. 1 Cor. 12; Eph. 4:16).[7]


2:18–19. Fullness and freedom mean that believers need not be drawn into the quest for exciting experiences. Apparently, the false teachers were telling the believers at Colosse that mystical visions and deeper experiences were necessary to make them truly spiritual. Once again, Paul brings the issue back to Christ.

Scholars debate whether the worship of angels referred to the angels being the objects of worship (the worship given to angels) or to the worship that the angels perform. Either are possible, but the former seems most likely. The mystical experience began with initiation into ascetic rituals (possibly referred to in Col. 2:21) which led to supernatural visions in which the individual was ushered into the heavenly realms to worship the angels who emanated from God or to join with the angels in the worship of God. The worshiper would then return with all kinds of stories about what he [had] seen in his vision. The Colossians were being told that if they really wanted to reach new levels of spirituality they needed to engage in these kinds of experiences. The mystical journey was intended to restore a lost dimension to spiritual experience.

Paul says this kind of spiritual quest is in fact a dangerous distraction. The person loses connection with the Head, from whom the whole body grows. The vision becomes the focus; Jesus becomes secondary. As a result growth is stunted, and believers are disqualif[ied] … for the prize. This phrase is actually one Greek term meaning “act as umpire against you.” It could mean “let no one pass critical judgment against you,” or it could mean “let no one deprive you of spiritual reward” because you have become distracted by a quest for experiences. Paul does not want Christians to be robbed of assurance and made to feel unspiritual, unfaithful, and in need of something extra—something more and higher than the cross.

This quest for superspiritual experience, like the legalism of the previous verses, fosters pride. The experience seeker delights in false humility, but his unspiritual mind puffs him up with idle notions. Believers may have spiritual experiences of varying kinds. Experiences themselves are not evil. When we try to make our experience the standard for all believers or when we measure our own or someone else’s spirituality on the basis of that experience, we’re being arrogant and unspiritual.

Christ is central. Not rules. Not experiences. Christ.[8]


Vers. 18–19. Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility. It is evident that “humility” here is degraded and discoloured by the tinge which is given it by its close connection with the words “in a voluntary.” This is a rendering in the LXX. of a Hebrew word signifying “taking a delight in, having one’s own inclination gratified in.” θέλω is used of that which a man does of his own notion, and passes over into the notion of sheer self-will and arbitrariness. Thus we learn the important lesson that virtues and graces are too delicate for the rough admeasurement of mere hard and fast moral lines. Their beauty and acceptability depart, and may even turn into their opposites. Wilful self-complacency in humility is censured by St. Paul as inconsistent with the sweet unconsciousness of true humility. It becomes the worst pride, or the most abject meanness—the pride or the meanness which apes humility. The word “will worship” in ver. 23 shows that a strong sense of θέλω, as intense self-will, was present to St. Paul’s mind. There as here, self-will imparts a contamination to the virtue with which it is associated. Humility and worship themselves become pride and superstition. Hence in Luke 1:48 the word should be rendered “low estate,” not humility. One who says, “I am humble,” is not humble. Mary does not profess humility, she practices it. (Bp. Alexander.)

Speculative and practical error:—

  1. The speculative side of the Colossian heresy. In the Authorized Version the apostle is made to bring a charge of presumption against the false teachers “intruding into the things which he hath not seen.” But this is a strange argument for one whose whole walk was by faith and not by sight, and who would hardly count it an answer to a professed revelation to say “you are intruding into that which you have not seen, and therefore you cannot know” with modern materialists. But this difficulty is removed in the Revised Version, which, on high authority, omits the “not,” and inverts the argument. Again, the Greek word “intruding into” means “dwelling in” or “taking his stand upon,” and the charge now becomes that of self-complacent self-conceit. 1. This man has “seen things,” the exact equivalent of our “a man has views,” a phrase of which obscure thinkers are very fond. The Colossian speculator may have professed to see visions and revelations of the Lord, and to bare come back from the third heaven to reveal them; or, if not this, to have seen things in the tone of an arrogant thinker, who gives his notions the style of certainties, verified with the eye of the mind, “dwelling in” them with complacent satisfaction as the whole of truth. 2. Or we may take the marginal reading, “taking his stand upon” his views; regarding them as land which he has won with his intellectual bow and spear, and from which he can go on to move or conquer the universe. 3. These new thinkers spoke much of the mind, made knowledge the bait of their enticements, endeavoured to establish an aristocracy of intellect within that Christian society which was free to all comers, and in which the wise and prudent are set side by side with babes. How striking is St. Paul’s language, “idly inflated with the mind of his flesh.” So far from being edified into the spiritual realm it was merely puffed up, and had its moving power in the repudiated sphere of matter. That Paul would so describe all so-called modern thought which sets aside Christ is certain. II. We pass on to ver. 23 to the practical side of the new heresy. 1. Here we have its treatment of matter, how its teachers sought by ceremonial prohibitions (ver. 21) to counteract the deadly influence of sense in spirit, and to mortify the body as an enemy of the spiritual life. It was a plausible, and perhaps, in its origin, a well-intentioned effort. It was nobler than that which treats matter as of no moment. But the two perversions have one root. Asceticism and licence both rob the body of its dignity as the servant of the spirit. 2. St. Paul admits that the ascetic rules have a show of wisdom; they speak plausibly, and promise largely by their will worship, i.e., their religion of self-imposed observances; by their humility, i.e., their obsequiousness; and by their severity to the body, i.e., their mortifying restrictions. 3. Thus far both versions agree. But now the Authorized Version says, “not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh.” This leaves out a particle which demands a contrast. But without this is it in accordance with St. Paul’s teaching to blame a system for not satisfying the flesh? Indeed, the Greek word is “indulgence.” But the Revised Version has inserted the particle of antithesis, and reads, “but are not of any value against the indulgence of the flesh.” The language is borrowed from the medical profession. What is good for it? What is a valuable remedy for such and such a disease? Indulgence of the flesh is the disease; can asceticism cure it? St. Paul says no! It sounds well, professes loudly, but has no real value. 4. Rules of abstinence, regulations as to food or drink—lawful, indeed, but from which it is an act of religion to abstain—have a show of wisdom; they point to a terrible evil and profess to cure it; they are well sounding words, “temperance” and the like; they talk of the value of humility in bending the neck to discipline. St. Paul does not deny that the conquest of the body is good, and that the means have something to say for themselves; but he declares as a man of large experience who has tried all means, and who is taught of God that all such regulations will fail.

III. The true principle of Christian thinking and living. 1. In Christ Jesus are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. They who do not hold fast the Head therefore, whatever they may think or see or dream, cannot but be puffed up and not edified. 2. In Christ with whom our life is hid in God (chap. 3:1) can alone be found the secret of the victory over the flesh which is the professed object of every system of ethics. If ye are dead what need of “touch not,” &c.? If ye are risen the chains of flesh shall fall off by the influence of the spiritual life. (Dean Vaughan.)

The angels and the Head:—

  1. The warning. 1. “Let no man rob you of your prize.” The metaphor is that of the race or wrestling ground; the judge is Christ, the reward is the crown, not of fading bay leaves, but of sprays from the “tree of life” which dower with blessedness the brows round which they are wreathed. The tendency of the heresy is to rob them of this. No names were mentioned, but the portrait of the robber is drawn with four rapid but accurate strokes of the pencil. (a) The humility has not a genuine ring about it. Self-conscious humility in which a man takes delight is not the real thing. A man who knows that he is humble and is self-complacent about it, glancing out of the corners of his downcast eyes at any mirror where he can see himself, is not humble at all. “The devil’s darling vice is the pride that apes humility.” (b) So very humble were these people that they would not venture to pray to God. The utmost they could do was to lay hold of the lowest link of a long chain of angel mediators in hope that the vibration might run upwards through all the links, and perhaps reach the throne at last. Such fantastic abasement which would not take God at His word, nor draw near to Him through Christ, was the very height of pride. (2) “Dwelling in the things he hath seen,” i.e., by visions, &c. The charge against the false teachers was of “walking in a vain show” of unreal imaginations. (3) “Vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind.” The self-conscious humility was only skin deep, and covered the utmost intellectual arrogance. The false teacher was like a blown bladder, dropsical from conceit of “intellectual ability” which was after all only the instrument of the flesh, the sinful self. Of course, such could have no grip of Christ, from whom such tempers were sure to detach. (4) Therefore, the damning indictment closes with “not holding the head.” 2. The special forms of these errors are gone; but the tendencies which underlay them are as rampant as ever. (1) The worship of angels is dead, but we are often tempted to think that we are too sinful to claim our portion of the promises. The spurious humility is by no means out of date, which knows better than God whether He can forgive, and grasps at others as well as Christ, the one Mediator. (2) We do not see visions and dream dreams, except that here and there some one is led astray by “spiritualism,” but plenty of us attach more importance to our speculations than to the clear revelation of God in Christ. The “unseen world” has for many an unwholesome attraction. The Gnostic spirit is still among us which despises the foundation truths of the gospel as milk for babes, and values its baseless artificial speculations about subordinate matters which are unrevealed because they are subordinate, and fascinating to some minds because unrevealed, far above the truths which are clear because they are vital, and inspired because clear. (3) And a swollen self-conceit is, of all things, the most certain to keep a man away from Christ. We must feel our utter helplessness and need before we shall lay hold of Him; and whatever slackens our hold of Christ tends to deprive us of the final prize. “Hold fast that thou hast; let no man take thy crown.”
  2. The source and manner of all true growth is set forth in order to enforce the warning and to emphasize the need of holding the head. 1. Christ is not merely represented as supreme and sovereign, but as the source of spiritual life. 2. That life which flows through the head is diffused through the whole body by the various and harmonious action of all the parts. The body is “supplied and knit together,” i.e., the functions of nutrition and compaction into a whole are performed by the “joints and bands,” in which last word are included muscles, nerves, tendons. Their action is the condition of growth, but the Head is the source of all. Churches have been bound together by other bonds, such as creeds, polity, nationality; but an external bond is only like a rope round a bundle of faggots. 3. The blessed results of supply and unity are effected through the action of the various parts. If each organ is in healthy action the body grows. There is diversity in offices; the same life is light in the eyes, beauty in the cheek, strength in the hand, thought in the brain. The effect of Christianity is to heighten individuality, and to give to each man his own proper “gift from God.” The perfect light is the blending of all colours. 4. A community where each member thus holds firmly by the Head will increase with the increase of God. There is an increase not of God. These heretical teachers were swollen with dropsical self-conceit. The individual may increase in apparent knowledge, in volubility, in visions and speculations, in so-called Christian work; the Church may increase in members, wealth, influence, &c., and it may not be sound growth, but proud flesh that needs the knife. (A. Maclaren, D.D.)

The seductive peril of a false philosophy:—A false philosophy—

  1. Threatens to rob the believer of his reward. Many erroneous opinions may be held without invalidating salvation; but any error that depreciates our estimate of Christ, and interrupts the advance of our Christian life, is a robbery.
  2. Advocates the most presumptuous and perilous speculations. 1. It affects a spurious humility. God is unknowable to the limited powers of man, so it reasons. But this humility was voluntary, self-induced, and was in reality another form of spiritual pride. 2. It invents a dangerous system of angelolatry. 3. It pretends to a knowledge of the mysterious. Locke says a work in the drawer of a cabinet might as well pretend to guess at the construction of the universe, as man venture to speculate about the unseen world.

III. Ignores the Divine source of all spiritual increase. 1. Christ is the great Head of the Church—the centre of its unity, the source of its life, authority, and influence. 2. The Church is vitally and essentially united to Christ. 3. The vital union of the Church with Christ is the condition of spiritual increase. Lessons: A false philosophy—1. Distorts the grandest truths. 2. Substitutes for truth the most perilous speculations. 3. Against its teachings be ever on your guard. (G. Barlow.)

Angel worship:—

  1. The apostle brands the seducers and concludes that no regard is to be paid to them. 1. Because in sacred things they arrogated to themselves, by no right whatever, a power of determining as the judges were accustomed in contests. These voluntary umpires decreed the reward of eternal life to none who were unwilling to subscribe to their doctrines. Therefore, as St. Paul struck at this usurpation, we must understand that no such power is granted to man that he should determine anything in religion of his own will; but is bound to judge according to Scripture (Isa. 8:20). Hence estimate Romish tyranny which claims this very power. 2. They abused their power to deceive Christians. A director of the games, if he should order any one to run outside the course, would deprive him of his prize; because he would never that way arrive at the goal. So they who direct Christians to seek salvation apart from Christ, endeavour to beguile them of their reward (Heb. 3:14). This condemnation rests on all who would lead us from the simplicity of Christ.
  2. He shows in what instance they abused their usurped authority. The foolish lowliness of mind which would seek the mediation of angels rather than that of Christ, is rebuked because Christ is more united to us than the angels (Rom. 5:2; Heb. 4:16; Eph. 3:12). 1. Because from this and similar places there arises between us and the Papists a great controversy about the worship of angels and deceased saints who are equal to the angels (Luke 20:36); let us see with whom the truth lies. (1) Religious worship, whether it be called latria or dulia, is given to God alone, and not to angels or saints. “Religion,” says Cicero, “is that which is comprised in the pious worship of the gods,” and Hilary says that “religion paid to the creature is accursed.” With this Scripture agrees (Deut. 6:13; Gal. 4:8; Rev. 19:10). The foundation of religious worship is infinite excellence apprehended under the consideration of our first cause and chief good; it is not a sufficient reason therefore, for offering to them, that angels and saints are endowed with supernatural gifts, or procure for us many good things, unless they are the first and chief cause to us of our chief good. (2) The Papists ascribe to angels and even to saints supreme religious worship no less than these seducers here censured. (a) Prayer is an act of latria or highest worship; for where we pray we acknowledge that its object can hear, deliver, and answer (Psa. 50:15). But this is offered to saints. (b) To make a vow to another is an act of latria, due to God alone (Isa. 19:21; Psa. 50:14). But vows are made to angels and saints. (c) To erect a house of prayer, to raise altars and offer incense upon them to any one is to pay Divine honour to him (Exod. 30:37; Matt. 21:13). But this is done wholesale by Rome to the angels and saints. 2. Paul rejects this doctrine, because (1) it proceeded from those who are accustomed rashly to invent and speak about matters unknown to them (1 Tim. 1:7). For they cannot trace angel or saint worship to the Word of God, or learn it from the example of prophets or apostles. Hence we may infer (a) That their bold curiosity is not to be endured who intrude themselves into the determining of things, the investigation of which surpasses human wit (Rom. 12:3). (b) Concerning religious matters nothing should be determined without a sure foundation, i.e., the Word of God, for whatever things we see relating to our salvation we find here. He who obtrudes anything not found there, hath not seen it but imagined it. (c) They, therefore, exercise tyranny over the Church who anathematize all who reject commandments of men for articles of faith. (2) The authors of this doctrine are puffed up with pride, and thence presume that their inventions are the dictates of truth. The fleshly mind denotes the animal man, or perspicacity, unenlightened by the Spirit (1 Cor. 2:14). (Bp. Davenant.)

False confidences:—One of the saddest incidents connected with the disastrous fire at Chicago is that so many trusted not only their goods, but their lives, to buildings that were regarded as fireproof, and that they perished together. Dr. Goodall records similar incidents connected with the great fire at Constantinople in 1831, and makes a suggestive reflection: “We, like many others, fared the worse for living in houses which were considered fire-proof. In the great burning day may no such false confidence prove our ruin.” (Christian Age.)

Humility before God:—Thomas à Becket wore coarse sackcloth made of goats’ hair from the arms to the knees, but his outer garments were remarkable for splendour and extreme costliness, to the end that, thus deceiving human eyes, he might please the sight of God. (Hoveden.)

How self-will may be lost:—A person who had long practised many austerities, without finding any comfort or change of heart, was once complaining to the Bishop of Alst of his state. “Alas!” said he, “self-will and self-righteousness follow me everywhere. Only tell me when you think I shall learn to leave self. Will it be by study, or prayer, or good works?” “I think,” replied the bishop, “that the place where you lose self will be that where you find your Saviour.” Not holding the Head.—

The union between head and body:—The discoveries of modern physiology have invested the apostle’s language with far greater distinctness and force than it can have worn to his own contemporaries. Any exposition of the nervous system more especially reads like a commentary on his image of the relations between the body and the head. At every turn we meet with some fresh illustration which kindles it with a flood of light. The volition communicated from the brain to the limbs, the sensations of the extremities telegraphed back to the brain, the absolute mutual sympathy between the head and the members, the instantaneous paralysis ensuing on the interruption of continuity, all these add to the completeness and life of the image. Bearing in mind the diversity of opinion among ancient physiologists, we cannot fail to be struck in the text, not only with the correctness of the image, but also with the propriety of the terms; and we are forcibly reminded that among the apostle’s most intimate companions at this time was one whom he calls “the beloved physician” (4:14). (Bp. Lightfoot.)

The Head and the body:—

  1. The Head supplies all things necessary to its members. In worshipping angels the seducers diminished the dignity of Christ, for they took away from Him the prerogative of the Head, and incorrectly judged of His virtue and sufficiency. For Christ, the God Man, is Head of the Church. If they acknowledged Him as God they would seek from Him alone grace and salvation; if as man, they would not solicit angels to intercede for them, since Christ, our Elder Brother, sits continually at the right hand of God. Hence we may infer—1. That they who are concerned about their salvation, ought never to turn their eyes from their Head in whom alone is salvation. 2. Christians are seduced to do so, and do not hold the Head, whenever they embrace new doctrines, worship, means of salvation never prescribed by Christ and His apostles (1 Tim. 6:3, 4).
  2. The Head binds and knits together the same to itself and to each other. 1. The effect obtained from cleaving to Christ is that the whole body has by joints nourishment ministered. (1) The joints are—(a) The Spirit of Christ (Rom. 8:9). As that member is not united to the head which is not animated by the same essence as the head itself, neither is that Christian united to Christ who lacks His Spirit. (b) The gifts of the Spirit, e.g., faith by which as a secondary mean we are united to Christ, and receive the remission of sins and all the grace promised in the gospel (John 6:35). (2) The whole body thus adhering to Christ hath nourishment ministered. The Greeks called him “minister” who supplied all the apparatus to the leaders of the sacred dances. By a metaphor derived from this he is said “to supply the expenditure” who furnishes to another the things necessary for any particular object; and the word used by Paul signifies the doing of this copiously and abundantly by Christ, who supplies all the means of salvation. For whether we regard the grace making grateful, or grace gratuitously given, Christ abundantly supplies both to His Church by His Spirit. (a) Of that grace which has reference to justification and sanctification, Paul testifies (Rom. 8:10; 2 Cor. 8:9) that it is ministered to all His members by Christ. (b) The same with that which relates to the edification of the Church (1 Cor. 12:7, &c.; Eph. 4:11). (3) We may here observe—(a) That in the whole body of the Church is not a single dry member, but all are watered by streams of grace flowing from the Head. (b) To adhere to the Pope as a visible head, does not constitute membership, but adherence to Christ. Therefore the ungodly are not true members, to whatever visible Church joined, unless by the joints of the Spirit and faith they are united to Christ. (c) As to doctrine and salvation the Church is supplied from its Head, not one member from another. (d) The Papists err, who will have the Church to draw the doctrine of salvation, not alone from Christ, but from tradition; who will have her receive holiness, merit, &c., not from Christ alone, but the saints. If this be so, the text is not true. 2. By virtue of the Head, the whole body is knit together (Rom. 12:5). The “bands” are the same—the Spirit and the gifts of the Spirit. For the same Spirit who unites us to Christ is the principal band by which we are united to each other (1 Cor. 12:13), and after He is infused into all the ligaments of the Church, He enkindles in every one that excellent gift of charity which is also the firmest bond of cohesion. The other ties are diversities of gifts and callings emanating from the same Spirit (Eph. 4:11, 12).

III. The fruit of this union. 1. While united to Christ by faith, and knit together by love, the whole body of the Church increaseth in faith, love, holiness, and all saving grace. This growth is said to be of God as He is the primary agent (1 Cor. 3:6), and because it tends to His glory as the ultimate end. 2. Observe of this increase—(1) As there is a growth in the natural body in all its parts, so in the mystical body all the members increase spiritually. (2) Not every increase is approved. A member of the body is not said to increase when it is inflated with any bad humour. So the piety of a Christian man is not increased when his mind is filled with tradition and will worship, which proceed not from the Spirit, but from the empty mind of ignorance and pride. (3) Be not deceived by that incongruous mass of opinions of the Romish Church. The kingdom of the Pope may be increased, viz., by temporal things, traditions, superstitions, not by the knowledge of God and piety. (Bp. Davenant.) (See also on chap. 1:18, and Eph. 4:16)[9]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1992). Colossians (pp. 119–122). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Still, T. D. (2006). Colossians. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Ephesians–Philemon (Revised Edition) (Vol. 12, p. 319). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[3] Bruce, F. F. (1984). The Epistles to the Colossians, to Philemon, and to the Ephesians (p. 123). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

[4] McKnight, S. (2018). The Letter to the Colossians. (N. B. Stonehouse, F. F. Bruce, G. D. Fee, & J. B. Green, Eds.) (pp. 278–279). Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.

[5] McNaughton, I. S. (2006). Opening up Colossians and Philemon (pp. 54–55). Leominster: Day One Publications.

[6] Patzia, A. G. (2011). Ephesians, Colossians, Philemon (pp. 63–64). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[7] Hendriksen, W., & Kistemaker, S. J. (1953–2001). Exposition of Colossians and Philemon (Vol. 6, pp. 125–129). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

[8] Anders, M. (1999). Galatians-Colossians (Vol. 8, p. 309). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[9] Exell, J. S. (n.d.). The Biblical Illustrator: Philippians–Colossians (Vol. 2, pp. 155–160). New York; Chicago; Toronto; London; Edinburgh: Fleming H. Revell Company.

November 6 Loving Jesus

scripture reading: John 14:15–24
key verse: Philippians 3:12

Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.

Is your relationship with the heavenly Father one of duty or delight? God, who is love, desires your fellowship with Him to be motivated by personal, growing, demonstrated love.

God is a person. Although He could have existed without creating humankind, He made us for Himself. He wants such an intimate relationship with you that He executed His Son for you so that you could be reconciled to Him forever.

As His child, you are free to love Him for all He is and for what He has done and will do for you. Each day is an opportunity to express your love for Jesus. You can love Him by telling Him so.

There is no such thing as true love in a marriage without verbal encouragement and praise. Likewise, God wants to hear the words of your lips that proclaim His excellencies. You can also tell Him you love Him by cheerful obedience. Work heartily at your task, knowing Christ is your Master. Carry out principles of Scripture He has laid on your heart. Serve others with compassion and understanding as Christ’s ambassador on earth.

The more you know Christ, the more you love Him. The more you love Him, the more passionately you want to honor and praise Him. It is a divine circle of love filled with blessings.

Heavenly Father, the more I get to know You, the more I love You. I am overwhelmed by the love that You showed in offering up Your Son, Jesus, in my behalf. Make me an ambassador of Your love here on earth.[1]

 

[1] Stanley, C. F. (1998). Enter His gates: a daily devotional. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

6 november (1859) 365 Days with Spurgeon

Let us pray

“But it is good for me to draw near to God.” Psalm 73:28

suggested further reading: James 4:1–8

Draw near to God with living, loving prayer; present the promise, and you shall obtain the fulfilment. Many things I might say of prayer; our old divines are full of high praise concerning it. The early fathers speak of it as if they were writing sonnets. Chrysostom preached of it as if he saw it incarnate in some heavenly form. And the choicest metaphors were gathered together to describe in rapturous phrase the power, nay, the omnipotence of prayer. Would to God we loved prayer as our fathers did of old. It is said of James the Less, that he was so much in prayer that his knees had become hard like those of a camel. It was doubtless but a legend, but legends are often based on truths. And certain it is that Hugh Latimer, that blessed saint and martyr of our God, was accustomed to pray so earnestly in his old age, when he was in his cell, that he would often pray until he had no strength left to rise, and the prison attendants had need to lift him from his knees. Where are the men like these? Oh angel of the covenant, where can you find them? When the Son of Man comes shall he find prayer on the earth? Ours are not worthy of the name of supplication. Oh that we had learned that sacred art, that would draw near to God, and plead his promise. Cowper has put several things together in one hymn.

Prayer clears the sky;

 

“Prayer makes the darkened cloud withdraw.”

 

Prayer is a heaven-climber;

 

“Prayer climbs the ladder Jacob saw.”

 

Prayer makes even Satan quake;

 

“For Satan trembles when he sees,

The weakest saint upon his knees.”

 

for meditation: Do you regard your prayer-life as a dead, boring routine? May God teach us to draw near to him and enjoy the relationship in a living and meaningful way (Luke 11:1–4).

sermon no. 288[1]

 

[1] Spurgeon, C. H., & Crosby, T. P. (1998). 365 Days with Spurgeon (Volume 1) (p. 317). Leominster, UK: Day One Publications.

6 NOVEMBER 365 Days with Calvin

Receiving Christ in the Supper

But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. 1 Timothy 3:15

suggested further reading: 1 Corinthians 11:17–34

When the apostle tells us to withdraw from all wicked affections, he calls us to our Savior, Jesus Christ. Must not we then take pains to come unto him in the Holy Supper? Let us solemnly meditate upon this subject.

Let us see how we are disposed, for God will not have us come to him in the Holy Supper as liars and deceivers. Let us see if we are disposed to receive God, not as a guest that travels by the way, but as one who has forever chosen us for his dwelling place, and as one who has dedicated us to himself as his temples so that we may be like a house built upon a rock. We must receive God by faith and as those who have been made truly one with our Lord Jesus Christ.

We should so examine and cleanse ourselves that when we receive the Supper of our Lord Jesus Christ, we may be more and more confirmed in his grace, that we may be engrafted into his body and truly be made one with him, and that all the promises we perceive in the gospel may better be confirmed in us. We must know that we live in him as he dwells in us, and that God owns us and takes us for his children.

We should be most earnest to call upon him and trust in his goodness, so he may so govern us by his Holy Spirit, and that poor ignorant creatures may through our example be brought to the right way. For today we see many people who are walking in the way of destruction. May we pay attention to what God has confirmed to us; that he would be pleased to show his grace, not only to one city or a little handful of people, but to reign over all the world so that everyone may serve and worship him in spirit and in truth.

for meditation: How do you receive Christ in the Holy Supper? Do you focus by faith on the Lord Jesus Christ and his death and resurrection? How do you continue to grow in Christ after the Supper has been administered?[1]

 

[1] Calvin, J., & Beeke, J. R. (2008). 365 Days with Calvin (p. 329). Leominster; Grand Rapids, MI: Day One Publications; Reformation Heritage Books.

November 6, 2019 Morning Verse Of The Day

9 Then my soul will rejoice in Yahweh;
it will rejoice in his salvation.
10 All of my bones shall say, “O Yahweh, who is like you,
who delivers the poor from one stronger than he
and the poor and needy from the one who robs him?”

Harris, W. H., III, Ritzema, E., Brannan, R., Mangum, D., Dunham, J., Reimer, J. A., & Wierenga, M. (Eds.). (2012). The Lexham English Bible (Ps 35:9–10). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.


35:10 Who is like you, Lord? This is an allusion to Moses’s words in the Song of the Sea (Exod. 15:11; variations occur in Pss. 71:19; 89:8; Isa. 44:7; Jer. 49:19; 50:44; see the sidebar).[1]


Vers. 9, 10. My soul shall be joyful in the Lord.Life’s joy:

It is not often that we meet with a truly joyous face. We see many a brow curved with humour, and lips with their wreath of mirth, but the eyes seldom beam the glory of that quiet delight which is named in our text. Everybody has some joy; but in many cases it is spurious like a bad shilling, and unreliable like the grass which grows over the marsh on a moor. But real joy is wholesome, beneficent and abiding; and it is for all. It is seldom or never found in external things; it is an inward state of the soul. Joy may be likened to a seat under the shade of a tree to which you can go at once for rest, and it is as free as a street fountain with the cup hanging ready for the thirsty traveller to drink; anybody may take the cup and drink. True joy is not a fiction; to be expressed, it must be felt. As you cannot have a river without a spring or source, neither can you have true joy without its fountain which flows from the heart of God.

  1. The secret cause of joy in the Christian is—
  2. That he possesses all things. The great cry of the human heart is—“I want this; O that I could have that!” Our failing is discontentedness; the glory of Christianity is contentment, not empty and fleeting, but full, overflowing, and everlasting. Under the Atlantic ocean is a cable through which passes a wire connecting the coast of England with that of America, and though there are great storms and crashing icebergs on the ocean, the cable under the sea is undisturbed; the lightning message passes along the three thousand miles of wire silently and in the twinkling of an eye. Likewise, the soul of the Christian, no matter whether he may be in a dungeon, awaiting a martyr’s death, or upon a throne, the object of the people’s praise, is serene because it is in communion with God.
  3. That our sins are all forgiven.
  4. The sense of salvation also inspires one’s soul to be joyful in the Lord.
  5. The promise of heaven. Some of you may say, “What you have said is of no use to me, for I am not a Christian; I am not good; there is no chance for me.” You think God must draw the line somewhere, that He cannot take you in; that He may receive other people, but He cannot admit you. Now the Bible says, “Whosoever will.” You cannot be too wicked for God to save; for He is able to save to the very uttermost all that pray unto Him. Therefore, come. (W. Birch.)[2]

9–10 Wishes for destruction are followed without explanation by praise and thanksgiving. This expression of trust has several purposes. First, it contrasts the acts of the one praying and the enemies who harm without cause. Second, it serves as an additional reason or motivation for God to save the one who has trust in God’s grace and power. Finally, it is the way humans under stress react. We too can flip from wishes against those hurting us to trust in God and back again. We, like the one praying, are confronted with that dual reality: life is difficult and painful, and God loves us and wants us to be happy and whole. God acts for those who are in the most need (v. 10). It is often hard, if not impossible, to reconcile these two truths.[3]


9. “And my soul shall be joyful in the Lord.” Thus rescued, David ascribes all the honour to the Judge of the right; to his own valorous arm he offers no sacrifice of boasting. He turns away from his adversaries to his God, and finds a deep unbroken joy in Jehovah, and in that joy his spirit revels. “It shall rejoice in his salvation.” We do not triumph in the destruction of others, but in the salvation given to us of God. Prayer heard should always suggest praise. It were well if we were more demonstrative in our holy rejoicings. We rob God by suppressing grateful emotions.

10. As if the tongue were not enough to bless God with, David makes every limb vocal—“All my bones shall say, Lord, who is like unto thee?” His whole anatomy he would make resonant with gratitude. Those bones which were to have been broken by my enemies shall now praise God; every one of them shall bring its tribute, ascribing unrivalled excellence to Jehovah the Saviour of his people. Even if worn to skin and bone, yet my very skeleton shall magnify the Lord, “which deliverest the poor from him that is too strong for him, yea, the poor and the needy from dim that spoileth him.” God is the champion, the true knight-errant of all oppressed ones. Where there is so much condescension, justice, kindness, power, and compassion, the loftiest songs should be rendered. Come, dear reader, have you not been delivered from sin, Satan, and death, and will not you bless the Redeemer? You were poor and weak, but in due time Christ sought you, and set you free. O magnify the Lord to-day, and speak well of his name.

11 False witnesses did rise up; they laid to my charge things that I knew not.

12 They rewarded me evil for good to the spoiling of my soul.

13 But as for me, when they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth: I humbled my soul with fasting; and my prayer returned into mine own bosom.

14 I behaved myself as though he had been my friend or brother: I bowed down heavily as one that mourneth for his mother.

15 But in mine adversity they rejoiced, and gathered themselves together: yea, the abjects gathered themselves together against me, and I knew it not; they did tear me, and ceased not:

16 With hypocritical mockers in feasts, they gnashed upon me with their teeth.

17 Lord, how long wilt thou look on? rescue my soul from their destructions, my darling from the lions.

18 I will give thee thanks in the great congregation: I will praise thee among much people.[4]


35:9, 10 Then David will be joyful in the Lord, celebrating His salvation. All his being will join in acknowledging the Lord as the incomparable One who saves the defenseless from the superior power of his opponent, the helpless and needy from the spoiler.[5] 9. And my soul is joyful in Jehovah. Others read this in the optative mood, May my soul rejoice in Jehovah, and may it be glad in his salvation. But instead of continuing to express his desires, David, in my opinion, rather promises in this verse that he will be grateful to God. This is still more evident from the following verse, in which extolling very highly the goodness of God, he says that he will celebrate the remembrance of it with every member of his body. While, therefore, some ascribe to fortune, and others to their own skill, the praise of their deliverance from danger, and few, if any, yield the whole praise of it to God, David here declares that he will not forget the favour which God had bestowed upon him. My soul, says he, shall rejoice, not in a deliverance of the author of which it is ignorant, but in the salvation of God. To place the matter in a still stronger light, he assigns to his very bones the office of declaring the divine glory. As if not content that his tongue should be employed in this, he applies all the members of his body to the work of setting forth the praises of God. The style of speaking which he employs is hyperbolical, but in this way he shows unfeignedly that his love to God was so strong that he desired to spend his sinews and bones in declaring the reality and truth of his devotion.

10. O Jehovah! who is like thee? Here he explains more fully the nature of his joy in the salvation of God of which he had spoken, showing that it consisted in his ascribing entirely to God the deliverance which he had obtained. Men, in general, praise God in such a manner that he scarcely obtains the tenth part of his due. But David, distinguishing him from all others, distinctly declares that the whole glory of his deliverance is due to him alone. And, certainly, we then only yield to God what belongs to him, when, investing him with his own power, we rest all our hopes on him. For what purpose does it serve, loudly to celebrate the name of God with our mouths, if we tear in pieces his power and goodness at our pleasure? David, therefore, in the true spirit of godliness, extols the greatness of God by this high encomium, that he is the guardian and defender of the poor, and rescues the needy and afflicted from the hand of those who oppress them; as if he had said, It is God’s peculiar duty to succour the miserable. By these words we are taught to cling to the hope of better things in adversity; for the power and resources of our enemies, however great they may be, is no reason why we should lose our confidence, since God declares to us from heaven that he reigns expressly for the purpose of resisting the strong and powerful. If the children of this world, who employ their power in injuring and oppressing the weak, had the least degree of sound understanding, it would certainly serve to restrain their audacity, and prevent them proceeding farther in provoking the wrath of God.

11 Violent witnesses rise up, they charge me with things which I know not.

12 They render me evil for good, to the bereaving of my soul.

13 But as for me, when they were sick, my clothing was sack-cloth: I afflicted my soul with fasting; and have poured my prayer into my own bosom.

14 I behaved myself towards him as if he had been my friend and brother: I humbled myself as one that mourneth heavily for his mother.

15 But they rejoiced at my halting, they gathered themselves together; yea, even the objects whom I knew not gathered themselves against me: they have torn me with their lips, and have not ceased.[6]


Ver. 9.—And my soul shall be joyful in the Lord. A sudden transition from imprecatory prayer to thanksgiving, or rather, to the promise of it—“My soul shall be joyful;” i.e. it shall be so when my prayers have been granted. It shall rejoice in his salvation. “Salvation” here is, no doubt, especially, deliverance from the immediate danger, but, perhaps, even here, not only that (see the comment on ver. 3).

Ver. 10.—All my bones shall say, Lord, who is like unto thee? The “bones” here represent, not the frame only, as in Ps. 34:20, but the entire nature. David promises that his whole nature shall bear witness to God’s mercy and goodness, proclaiming that there is “none like unto him” in these respects, none other that can deliver from danger as he can and does. As Hengstenberg observes, “He seeks to make the Lord grant the desired help by promising that the help afforded would yield a rich harvest of praise and thanksgiving.” Which deliverest the poor from him that is too strong for him, yea, the poor and the needy from him that spoileth him? (comp. Ps. 86:1, where David again calls himself “poor and needy;” i.e. in want of help and peace and comfort; not absolutely without means, or he would not offer any temptation to the spoiler.[7]


[1] Bullock, C. H. (2015). Psalms 1–72. (M. L. Strauss & J. H. Walton, Eds.) (Vol. 1, pp. 264–265). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[2] Exell, J. S. (1909). The Biblical Illustrator: The Psalms (Vol. 2, p. 196). New York; Chicago; Toronto; London; Edinburgh: Fleming H. Revell Company; Francis Griffiths.

[3] Jacobson, R. A., & Tanner, B. (2014). Book One of the Psalter: Psalms 1–41. In E. J. Young, R. K. Harrison, & R. L. Hubbard Jr. (Eds.), The Book of Psalms (p. 336). Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, U.K.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.

[4] Spurgeon, C. H. (n.d.). The treasury of David: Psalms 27-57 (Vol. 2, p. 142). London; Edinburgh; New York: Marshall Brothers.

[5] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 600). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[6] Calvin, J., & Anderson, J. (2010). Commentary on the Book of Psalms (Vol. 1, pp. 581–582). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[7] Spence-Jones, H. D. M. (Ed.). (1909). Psalms (Vol. 1, p. 266). London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.