COVID-19

COVID-19

Dear Church members and friends of HWEC

The elders and deacon have met tonight to consider the advice that has been given by the FIEC on the coronavirus. (HWEC is affiliated to the FIEC)

https://fiec.org.uk/resources/coronavirus-advice-on-church-meetings

We have decided to take their advice and cancel all meetings until further notice. We will keep abreast of the FIEC advice and resume meetings as soon as it is possible.

We do wish to keep a sense of fellowship and community and to provide weekly teaching from God’s Word. I will send out a daily meditation starting from next Monday. On a Saturday I will record a sermon and Victor will send this to everyone along with an order of service. The order of service will include prayers, the reading and a YouTube link to hear the hymns.

If anyone has any needs that arise during this time can you please contact me or one of the elders. Please endeavour to keep in contact with one another to provide mutual support as this may well go on for an extended period of time.

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day. Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts. The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Come and see what the LORD has done, the desolations he has brought on the earth. He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth. He breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the shields with fire. He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.

(Ps. 46:1-11 NIV)

May God bless our congregation and keep us safe!

Regards

John

Rev Dr John A. Scott

Minister of Hounslow West Evangelical Church

Mobile 07513 315722

Office 020 85778488

Stay Home, Save Lives.
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Christian Ethics

You are warmly invited to join us as Dr John Scott delivers a series of sermons focusing on what the Bible teaches on ethical issues facing Christians today.

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Meditation Psalm 12

For the director of music. According to sheminith. A psalm of David.
Help, Lord, for no one is faithful any more;
those who are loyal have vanished from the human race.
Everyone lies to their neighbour;
they flatter with their lips
but harbour deception in their hearts.

May the Lord silence all flattering lips
and every boastful tongue –
those who say,
‘By our tongues we will prevail;
our own lips will defend us – who is lord over us?’

‘Because the poor are plundered and the needy groan,
I will now arise,’ says the Lord.
‘I will protect them from those who malign them.’
And the words of the Lord are flawless,
like silver purified in a crucible,
like gold refined seven times.

You, Lord, will keep the needy safe
and will protect us for ever from the wicked,
who freely strut about
when what is vile is honoured by the human race.

(Ps. 12:1-8 NIV)

There is a contrast here between the evil and flattering speech of the world and the flawless words of the LORD.

Those who are loyal to the LORD appear to have vanished but the numbers of the wicked have increased. This is how Elijah felt:

He replied, “I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.”

(1 Ki. 19:10 NIV)

It was difficult to find any who lived in covenant faithfulness to the LORD and whose lives demonstrated (Hesed) covenant love. The faithful could not be seen but the wicked could be seen and heard.

The wicked spoke fine-sounding words which had no substance. The second verse of GK Chesterton’s hymn (1906) reads

From all that terror teaches,
from lies of tongue and pen,
from all the easy speeches
that comfort cruel men,
from sale and profanation
of honour, and the sword,
from sleep and from damnation,
deliver us, good Lord!

They spoke lies and flattered with their words. They imagined they had power within their grasp because of the mastery of their speech and the strength of their written words. There is the pretence that their speech was noble, with enough truth to try and sell the overall lie.
The Psalmist looks to the LORD to silence these tongues. The wicked had a great deal of arrogance; they had no master or lord to rule over them. They were self-made people governed only by their own judgement, a law onto themselves.
Because the wicked have robbed the needy, God has heard the cry or groan of the needy.
The LORD resolves to arise and deal with those who have been abused.

In contrast the words of the LORD are pure, like refined silver or gold. God’s words are free from the dross of lies and flattery found in the wicked. Again the Psalmist gains the perspective of the sanctuary and has confidence that God will keep them safe and provide protection forever from the wicked. This confidence was not caused by a change in circumstances, it was caused by the realisation of the purity of the LORD’s words.

Everything the LORD has made and said is pure. Humanity has taken that and defiled it. There is much in our world that is vile and celebrated because it is vile, but the Word of the LORD remains pure and we can trust it because God has spoken. The lesson we learn is to bring all these troubles before our God in prayer.

Prayer
Lord God it hurts us deeply when we see the vile agendas established as normal behaviour. Our children and grandchildren grow up in times where they are exposed to lifestyles and celebration of lifestyles that are contrary to your world. We live in a day when there is great biblical illiteracy and we have to start with the most basic of teaching to share the Gospel. It was into a dark world that our Saviour came, but the Spirit of God worked mightily and thousands were brought to Christ. Lord in this hour of international need, cause your people and those outside of Christ to live in the true fear of the Lord. Save the life and the soul of our prime minister and may this be the beginning of a mighty reformation in our nation, to the glory of Christ in whose name we pray. Amen

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Meditation Psalm 11

For the director of music. Of David.
In the Lord I take refuge.
How then can you say to me:
‘Flee like a bird to your mountain.
For look, the wicked bend their bows;
they set their arrows against the strings
to shoot from the shadows
at the upright in heart.
When the foundations are being destroyed,
what can the righteous do?’

The Lord is in his holy temple;
the Lord is on his heavenly throne.
He observes everyone on earth;
his eyes examine them.
The Lord examines the righteous,
but the wicked, those who love violence,
he hates with a passion.
On the wicked he will rain
fiery coals and burning sulphur;
a scorching wind will be their lot.

For the Lord is righteous,
he loves justice;
the upright will see his face.

(Ps. 11:1-7 NIV)

The Psalmist has taken refuge in the covenant LORD in the face of trouble. Either a well-meaning friend, or his own internal voice of fear, provides the advice to fly away. ‘But how can this be good advice because I have taken refuge in the LORD how could you advise me to fly away to the safety of a mountain?’ There is no safer place than under the wings of the covenant LORD. The temptation to fly away is because you can see that the enemies have bent the bows to shoot out of the shadows at the people of God. The enemies shoot out of the dark because it is an underhand, spiteful attack. In v3 the Psalmist feels that the very foundations are being destroyed and that the people of God are powerless to do anything about it. This well describes life in the UK in the 21st century. The foundations that were laid by generations of Christians are being destroyed by new laws, by the prohibition of any counter-narrative to projected public opinion. What is the answer to this feeling of despair? The LORD is in his holy temple, the LORD is on his heavenly throne – that is the answer. The burden of our times is carried by the LORD. The Psalmist expresses his confidence. This confidence has one ultimate source, that is the reassurance that no matter what is happening, the LORD is on his heavenly throne. At this time of pandemic, we have concerns about getting the virus, concerns about future employment, financial concerns, perhaps not coping well with being isolated from friends and family. Because of our age, or our underlying health issues, we may feel particularly vulnerable. The ultimate source of our hope in all circumstances is that the Lord our God is still upon his heavenly throne. From the throne God sees every single person upon the earth. Not only does God see everyone, He examines everyone. The enemies who lurked in the shadows are not hidden from His sight. God is present in His holy temple – that is to assure us that God is with his people. God is on his heavenly throne, that is to assure us that God is transcendent, far above all enemies, supremely powerful as He reigns from on high. The LORD examines the righteous and those who love violence. A day of account will come when all must stand before God and meet their Maker. The examination of the wicked will be with fire. The fiery coals, burning sulphur and scorching wind are all symbols of judgement making clear that that judgement will penetrate to reveal the truth. The LORD is long suffering, pausing to give the wicked time to repent

By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.

But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: with the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.

(2 Pet. 3:7-10 NIV)

The LORD is righteous and He will turn His face towards His people and they will see His face and be saved.

Prayer
LORD at times we face the temptation to run away or fly away from the face of difficult circumstance. Help us to have confidence in You and realise that You are the King of kings reigning from Your heavenly throne. ‘Before the throne of God above I have a strong and perfect plea, a great High Priest whose name is love, who ever lives and pleads for me’. Keep us in Your love as we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen

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Meditation Psalm 10b

Arise, Lord! Lift up your hand, O God.
Do not forget the helpless.
Why does the wicked man revile God?
Why does he say to himself,
‘He won’t call me to account’?
But you, God, see the trouble of the afflicted;
you consider their grief and take it in hand.
The victims commit themselves to you;
you are the helper of the fatherless.
Break the arm of the wicked man;
call the evildoer to account for his wickedness
that would not otherwise be found out.

The Lord is King for ever and ever;
the nations will perish from his land.
You, Lord, hear the desire of the afflicted;
you encourage them, and you listen to their cry,
defending the fatherless and the oppressed,
so that mere earthly mortals
will never again strike terror.

(Ps. 10:12-18 NIV)

In the first part of this Psalm we saw a vivid description of time of trouble. This description is not just a mere lament, it is a lament made to God. In verse 12 the Psalmist turns his prayer to pleading with God to act. The strength to act lies alone with the LORD. The strength and power of the LORD is demonstrated by lifting up His hand. The Psalmist describes himself as helpless and he asks the LORD not to forget the helpless. They are not able to do anything without the LORD. The enemy is also God’s enemy because they have reviled God and boasted about God not ever calling them to account. After lament and prayer the Psalmist has a sense of confidence. He acknowledges that God does see the trouble of the afflicted and that God will take the matter in hand to bring deliverance and justice. God is not just seen as one option, He is the only option and the victims commit their way to the LORD. The weakest of the weak are the fatherless. Even they have been exploited. The Psalmist is still exposed to the enemy, circumstances haven’t changed but as he explores the facts of faith he is emboldened in the Lord. The Psalmist calls for the arm of the wicked man to be broken. He wants the power of the persecutor to be broken and their ability to do their evil acts stopped. The hand of God v12 is to be raised in power to break the arm of the wicked v15. The evildoer has boasted that he will not be called to account. The Psalmist wants God to do exactly that, because otherwise the evildoer will get away with his evil.

The covenant LORD is the eternal King and ruler over all the nations. In the New Heavens and the New Earth God will rule supreme. All wickedness and evildoers will perish. The kingdom of God will be established. Like the Psalmist we can have confidence in the Lord. Every person, every religion, every government that has opposed the Lord’s people will one day face their mortality. They may have claimed invincibility but the Lord listens to the cries of His people.

In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire – may result in praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

(1 Pet. 1:6-9 NIV)

The oppressor may feel that they have the upper hand. We are not told if the Psalmist lived to see deliverance. What gives meaning to his existence is his relationship with God.

Prayer
Lord, the world is filled with so many injustices. The Church of Christ has enemies without and within. Many plot to corrupt the Gospel message. Lord come to the aid of your people. Help us to place our trust in You, for Christ the Saviour’s sake. Amen

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Meditation Psalm 9b

Sing the praises of the Lord, enthroned in Zion;
proclaim among the nations what he has done.
For he who avenges blood remembers;
he does not ignore the cries of the afflicted.

Lord, see how my enemies persecute me!
Have mercy and lift me up from the gates of death,
that I may declare your praises
in the gates of Daughter Zion,
and there rejoice in your salvation.

The nations have fallen into the pit they have dug;
their feet are caught in the net they have hidden.
The Lord is known by his acts of justice;
the wicked are ensnared by the work of their hands.
The wicked go down to the realm of the dead,
all the nations that forget God.
But God will never forget the needy;
the hope of the afflicted will never perish.

Arise, Lord, do not let mortals triumph;
let the nations be judged in your presence.
Strike them with terror, Lord;
let the nations know they are only mortal.

(Ps. 9:11-20 NIV)

The Psalmist returns to his theme of v1. He sings the praise of the LORD who is on His throne and he is proclaiming to the nations what God has done. God continues to listen to the cries of His people. The praise of God’s people arises out of the conviction that God cares. Now the Psalmist calls on all of God’s people to sing God’s praise.

Whatever the form of the persecution that the Psalmist is experiencing it feels as if he has been reduced to the gates of death. This is a reminder that we don’t fight against mere flesh and blood but against dark forces. This is no surprise – the Psalmist has been praising God and calling on others to praise God, this has drawn the attention of those who would persecute God’s people. He wants God to lift him so that he can continue to praise God in the midst of God’s people. The gates of the daughter of Zion is a metaphor for the city of God and public worship. This is a prayer that should be on our lips at this time. Many are literally at the gates of death, our churches are not able to meet – LORD lift your people and the nation that we can join together once more to praise your Name and rejoice in Your salvation.

Like we saw in Psalm 7, the wicked fall into the pit that they have dug for the Psalmist.

We are comforted by the news that God does not forget the needy. Our hope in God will never die. The Psalmist calls for the LORD to arise and cause the nations to be judged. All people are mere mortals. May the fear of the LORD come to all nations so that they realise their mortality and cause us all to return to the LORD our God.

The Psalms show the conflict between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of man. We pray to God, ‘your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven’. God has dealt with sin and wickedness through the death of Christ. The resurrection of Christ is the assurance that God is victorious over sin and death.

Prayer
Lord we praise your Name that You have done great things for us. We recognise that the kingdom of this world is at war against the kingdom of God. They have introduced laws that are against Your will. Lord help us never to side with the enemies of Your kingdom. Help us to see the victory that we have in Christ, the steadfast hope of eternal life. Because Christ has died for us we can place our hope in Him in life and in death. Hear our prayer through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

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Meditation Psalm 9a

For the director of music. To the tune of ‘The Death of the Son’. A psalm of David.
I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart;
I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.
I will be glad and rejoice in you;
I will sing the praises of your name, O Most High.

My enemies turn back;
they stumble and perish before you.
For you have upheld my right and my cause,
sitting enthroned as the righteous judge.
You have rebuked the nations and destroyed the wicked;
you have blotted out their name for ever and ever.
Endless ruin has overtaken my enemies,
you have uprooted their cities;
even the memory of them has perished.

The Lord reigns for ever;
he has established his throne for judgment.
He rules the world in righteousness
and judges the peoples with equity.
The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed,
a stronghold in times of trouble.
Those who know your name trust in you,
for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.

(Ps. 9:1-10 NIV)

The Psalmist turns again to lament but before he unburdens the distress in his heart he promises to praise the covenant LORD as he anticipates the deliverance he is going to receive from the LORD. This heartfelt joy is expressed in the five verbs that he uses – give thanks, tell, glad, rejoice and sing. The intensity of love that the Psalmist has for the LORD arises from the contemplation of the wonderful acts of redemption and judgement that the LORD has done. The LORD has worked salvation in the past and it is a cause of confidence for the future.

The wonders of the LORD’S works cause the enemies to turn back and stumble. We saw this in our studies in the book of Joshua as the enemies heard of what the LORD had done for His people and they trembled before the LORD.

The LORD upholds the rights of His people and the cause of the Kingdom. The LORD is on His Throne and rules in righteousness. It is important in the face of the common distress that we all face today that we do not forget that God is Sovereign and remains ruling from His throne.

Those who have plotted against the LORD have had their cities uprooted. Some of us are old enough to remember the fear that communism was going to subdue the world, yet in a short space of time the iron curtain fell, rulers were removed and the memory of them has perished.

The ground of hope is the belief that the LORD rules. The throne of God is established. This will not be changed or discounted.

The LORD is our refuge

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

(Rom. 8:38-39 NIV)

As we seek the LORD in prayer He will never forsake us.

“When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, 14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

(2 Chr. 7:13-14 NIV)

Prayer
LORD we have great reason to praise you because of your wonderful works of redemption. You have brought us into Your family. LORD forgive us for taking for granted your grace and mercy. We turn to you. There is a plague across the face of the world, we are not able to gather together, we have had the sacraments withheld from us. Lord forgive our sin and heal our land, for Christ the Saviour’s sake in whose name we pray. Amen

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Meditation Psalm 8b

For the director of music. According to gittith. A psalm of David.
Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!

You have set your glory
in the heavens.
Through the praise of children and infants
you have established a stronghold against your enemies,
to silence the foe and the avenger.
When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,
what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
human beings that you care for them?

You have made them a little lower than the angels
and crowned them with glory and honour.
You made them rulers over the works of your hands;
you put everything under their feet:
all flocks and herds,
and the animals of the wild,
the birds in the sky,
and the fish in the sea,
all that swim the paths of the seas.

Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!

(Ps. 8:1-9 NIV)

There are a number of Psalms that are quoted in the New Testament that are used to describe the person and work of Christ. These are referred to as Messianic Psalms. Some view all the Psalms as Messianic as Christ is the divine Psalm singer. Christ sings the Psalms and we sing the Psalms in Christ. Psalm 8 is quoted in

‘Do you hear what these children are saying?’ they asked him.

‘Yes,’ replied Jesus, ‘have you never read,

‘“From the lips of children and infants
you, Lord, have called forth your praise”?’

(Matt. 21:16 NIV)

For he “has put everything under his feet.” Now when it says that “everything” has been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ.

(1 Cor. 15:27 NIV)

That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church,

(Eph. 1:20-22 NIV)

But there is a place where someone has testified:

‘What is mankind that you are mindful of them,
a son of man that you care for him?
You made them a little lower than the angels;
you crowned them with glory and honour
and put everything under their feet.’

In putting everything under them, God left nothing that is not subject to them. Yet at present we do not see everything subject to them. But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honour because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

(Heb. 2:6-9 NIV)

When Christ comes again for His people, he will defeat all his enemies. All those who refused to acknowledge His name, will bow the knee and confess the name of Jesus when Christ is crowned with glory and honour. The chorus of the church (All those who have become as little children Matt 18:1-6) united and victorious will sound out the name of the Lamb who was slain.

As we look up at the stars in the sky the work of God’s fingers, God’s embroidery, what seems so vast for us is but God’s handiwork. We are so small, yet God has conferred glory and honour on us in Christ.

We see Jesus who also was made a little lower than the angels for a short period of time. He took our humanity that He might become obedient to death, even death on the cross, to taste death for all His people. When Christ ascended, He went to take His seat at the right hand of God, crowned with glory and honour.

Man was given dominion over all the earth. Where the first man failed, the second man, the last Adam succeeded, and He inherits the whole earth. Because we are in Christ, we will reign with Him in the New Heavens and the New Earth. Well might we use again the words of the Psalmist. LORD our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth.

Prayer
LORD our Lord we thank you that you have come to us in grace. Our dignity was that we were made in the image of God. All that we lost in the Fall we will have restored in Jesus Christ. What are we that you should take notice of us, love us and redeem us? We rejoice with a joy that is unspeakable because our words cannot adequately describe all that has been done for us in Christ. LORD our Lord, how excellent is your name in all the earth. Receive our praise through Jesus Christ. Amen.

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Meditation Psalm 8a

For the director of music. According to gittith. A psalm of David.
Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!

You have set your glory
in the heavens.
Through the praise of children and infants
you have established a stronghold against your enemies,
to silence the foe and the avenger.
When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,
what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
human beings that you care for them?

You have made them a little lower than the angels
and crowned them with glory and honour.
You made them rulers over the works of your hands;
you put everything under their feet:
all flocks and herds,
and the animals of the wild,
the birds in the sky,
and the fish in the sea,
all that swim the paths of the seas.

Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!

(Ps. 8:1-9 NIV)

We have been considering a series of Lament Psalms where God appears to be hidden. The Psalmist calls for God to arise (3:7), for God to answer (4:1), for God to listen to my words (5:1), for God to turn and deliver (6:4) and for the LORD to arise (7:6). In Psalm 8 we see the LORD who displays His glory in all the earth, in the heavens above and in the creation of humanity. This praise for the joy of creation, not apart from God the Creator (like Pantheism) but to always see creation as a product of the Creator and have joy in creation because of the Creator and Sustainer of the world.

The name of God represents not just the majesty of His name alone, but also the revelation of God. The majestic name permeates all the earth and the starry heavens.

God uses the weakness of infants and babies to oppose His enemies. God’s enemies do not recognise the name of God or the revelation of God in all creation. The infants and babies have a greater strength than that of God’s enemies. God’s enemies imagine the position that they have, and the influence that they exert, the control that they have and the victories that they have won. They don’t acknowledge God’s name but the volume of their evil song is drowned by the anthems and choruses of the children–‘LORD our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth.’ We all have stood outside on a dark night and the vastness of the night sky and the panoply of bright stars has helped us feel our finitude and insignificance. But this should also turn our minds to the magnitude, almighty power and greatness of our Creator God. God created the vast universe and the expanse of the galaxies that stretch to light years away from earth. By the work of God’s fingers He gently adds the finishing touches by delicately putting into its final place, the moon and the stars. This vast expanse is but a tiny work put in place as a fingertip exercise by our Creator God- ‘LORD our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!’

Yes, we are so incredibly a tiny speck in all creation, yet God has given us dignity. It is a derived dignity, given by God. God has bestowed the highest honour on humanity by creating us just a little lower than the heavenly beings.

Though the vastness of all the earth and the heavens gives us a sense of insignificance, yet God has given us a position of strength and responsibility. This never becomes a natural right. (God’s enemies assume it as a right). It is always given by God. Everything has been put under our feet, everything including the inhabitants of the air, the earth and the sea. Having been amazed at the grandeur of God’s creation and the dignity given to humanity the Psalmist returns to his original praise – ‘LORD our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!’

Prayer
Majestic covenant LORD, how small we are in the whole of the earth and in the glory of the heavens. Yet you sent Your Son to redeem us. What was it O our LORD that caused you to love us and redeem us as a people for Yourself. Help us to understand the dignity of every human and the preciousness of our brothers and sisters in Christ, to the glory of our covenant Saviour, Jesus Christ, in whose name we pray. Amen

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Meditation Psalm 7c

If he does not relent,
he will sharpen his sword;
he will bend and string his bow.
He has prepared his deadly weapons;
he makes ready his flaming arrows.

Whoever is pregnant with evil
conceives trouble and gives birth to disillusionment.
Whoever digs a hole and scoops it out
falls into the pit they have made.
The trouble they cause recoils on them;
their violence comes down on their own heads.

I will give thanks to the Lord because of his righteousness;
I will sing the praises of the name of the Lord Most High.

(Ps. 7:12-17 NIV)

The encouragement from this part of the Psalm is that evil will be punished. The Psalmist speaks of God’s righteousness and the fate of the wicked and the false accuser. The activity of the false accuser was the cause of the Psalmist’s problem. The judgement may not happen now, but the warrior God is ready to meet out judgement in His time. ‘If He does not relent’ means if God decides not to enact judgement. (We saw this when we were studying the book of Jonah: Jonah 3:10). In every threat of judgement there is the understanding that there is the possibility of repentance and averting judgement. So the false accuser has time to repent, but if in that time they don’t repent God is ready in His time to send judgement. God’s weapons are prepared and ready v12-13. The false accuser remains at risk, they are described as being pregnant with evil, conceiving trouble and giving birth to disillusionment. The seed of mischief has been planted in the mind and after plotting, scheming and composing their words they have twisted the truth, it then comes forth as falsehood. Quite often the judgement comes about from the false accuser’s own hands as they fall into the pit that they have dug. The trouble that the false accuser had planned for the accused boomerangs back on them. This may all sound like retribution, but we need to see this in the context of God’s righteousness and the unrepentant accuser.

The Psalm ends with praise. The Psalmist is thankful for God’s righteousness and he sings the praise of the name of the covenant LORD. The problem may not have been resolved at this point, but what is most important is that he was given a new perspective on the problem by taking it to God in prayer.

Prayer
Covenant LORD you are our God and we thank you that you know all things and that righteousness will be established in the end. LORD help us to be willing to leave matters in your hands. Help us to bring our every circumstance into your hands. Lord we thank You that when we bring these matters before you in prayer, that we are reassured by Your nature. We rest in You our shield and our defender. Hear our prayer in the name of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

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Meditation Psalm 7b

Arise, Lord, in your anger;
rise up against the rage of my enemies.
Awake, my God; decree justice.
Let the assembled peoples gather round you,
while you sit enthroned over them on high.
Let the Lord judge the peoples.
Vindicate me, Lord, according to my righteousness,
according to my integrity, O Most High.
Bring to an end the violence of the wicked
and make the righteous secure –
you, the righteous God
who probes minds and hearts.

My shield is God Most High,
who saves the upright in heart.
God is a righteous judge,
a God who displays his wrath every day.

(Ps. 7:6-11 NIV)

There are a number of examples in the Bible where God’s people were falsely accused. Joseph was falsely accused. Daniel and Esther saw the people of God plotted against and accused. Vulnerable with their lives at risk they turned to the LORD our God.

The Psalmist puts forth request after request before the covenant LORD. The Psalmist does not seek to defend himself but looks to God to decree justice. The Psalmist calls for God to arise, rise up, awake and decree. A judgement scene is envisaged as God gathers the nations on earth before Him and God will rule over them from on high and carry out His judgement. The false accusers and the enemies of God’s people will be judged. The triumph of God’s people will ultimately be in Christ:

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

(Phil. 2:9-11 NIV)

The Psalmist has called upon God to deal with the enemies of God’s people in general in v6-8a, but then he returns to his own personal difficulty. The Psalmist refers to his own righteousness and integrity. He is not claiming sinlessness but before the righteous Judge he is innocent and has no fear. The righteous God probes minds and hearts (Ps 139:1-4). God is our refuge standing ready to deliver and save. But a refuge must be entered before it is effective (James 4:8).

The God of justice (v6) has arisen, He rose up and is awake declaring justice. Ultimately in Jesus Christ, God has taken action. We have rightly been accused, but our righteous God has sent His Son to die on the cross and God has declared us innocent because of Christ.

Prayer
LORD we acknowledge that we are not sinless but when we are falsely accused we come to You and will await vindication whether that will be now or in some future judgement. We thank You that our greatest vindication is that we have been justified in Christ. The greatest injustice was our own sin and that matter has already been settled. Thanks be to the LORD our God for our salvation. In the name of Jesus Christ we pray. Amen

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Meditation Psalm 7a

A shiggaion of David, which he sang to the Lord concerning Cush, a Benjaminite.
Lord my God, I take refuge in you;
save and deliver me from all who pursue me,
or they will tear me apart like a lion
and rip me to pieces with no one to rescue me.

Lord my God, if I have done this
and there is guilt on my hands –
if I have repaid my ally with evil
or without cause have robbed my foe –
then let my enemy pursue and overtake me;
let him trample my life to the ground
and make me sleep in the dust.

(Ps. 7:1-5 NIV)

Psalm 7:1-5 contains a prayer for refuge and an oath of innocence. The problem here is that the Psalmist has been falsely accused of breaking his covenant that he had made with an ally (v4). Any time you are falsely accused you can identify with the Psalmist how it feels. It feels as if you are being pursued. The chase is relentless because your accuser takes cheap shots at you before the eyes of an audience. (Notice how different this is from the biblical way of raising an issue. Go to the person and if the person doesn’t respond then you go to the elders and then the church.) False accusers find an audience and the goal is to ruin reputation, and it feels as if you are being torn apart the way a lion would rip its prey to pieces. It’s a lonely place because there is no-one to rescue you. But where your reputation matters most is before the righteous God. The covenant LORD is my God we can take refuge in Him.

LORD my God
If I have done this
If there is guilt on my hands (NIV leaves out this if)
If I have repaid my ally with evil
Or without cause have robbed my foe
Then let my enemy make me sleep in the dust.

It is easier to cope with a public accusation of the sins and crimes you have committed than to emotionally and spiritually cope with false accusations. If you are guilty, then there is a path to repentance and restoration. But if the accusation is false there is nothing to repent of. But the covenant LORD is our God, we take refuge in Him. For every circumstance we face in life we can take refuge in our covenant LORD.

Prayer
Lord when we are falsely accused help us to take refuge in You our covenant LORD. LORD false accusations and criticism are terribly unfair. Resting in You as our place of refuge calms our hearts because you see all things, know all things. We need not invest any effort to defend ourselves because You are our defence. We rest in you our shield and our defender. Lord help us to trust in You because we ask these things in the name of Jesus Christ.

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