Psalm 119:153-160 – Resh

Look upon my suffering rescue me,
for I have not forgotten your instructions.
Argue my case;take my side!
Protect my life as You promised.
The wicked are far from rescue,
for they do not bother with Your decrees.
LORD, how great is Your Mercy;
let me be revived by following Your regulations.
Many persecute and trouble me,
yet I have not swerved from Your Laws
Seeing these traitors makes me sick at heart,
because they care nothing for Your Word.
See how I love Your Commandments,LORD.
Give back my life because of your unfailing love.
The very essence of Your words is truth;
all Your just regulations will stand forever.
119:152-160 (NLT)

Ezra and the returning exiles faced many hardships not only from the mixed blood of Israel and the Assyrians, but from the local people who did not want them to return and reclaim the land. The things that trouble Israel today are no different. The things that face Christians today in the same lands are very much the same. We who live in “safe” lands take to much for granted. Yet we face a new persecution, that of people distorting the Word for power, glory, wealth and control. Many of the Law of Moses does not apply to our modern world, but the heart of the WORD still remains.
Ezra tried to instill a sense of order and religiosity among the returning Jews and enforce a custom of obedience to the people of the land to adhere to the Word of God. Yet he face many obstacles, least of all were the enemies at the gates. The real enemies were those who professed to be Jews yet did not follow God’s Law.

“Look upon my suffering” Those who are faithful to the word see themselves as victims of persecution by those who disagree with them. Ezra had to fight daily against enemies of Persia (who sent him back to Jerusalem to restore order and rebuild the Temple of Solomon) and the locals did not welcome the Jews but saw them as invaders. Today we see the “new” churches as invaders of our Faith. Many have strange doctrines, unclear teachings even things we consider to be heretical. But out of this come the “Old” Church and it is teaching new ideas as well. What are we to do? What if what we have been taught all these years is actually, the false teaching? God says, Jesus says, “Obey My Commandments.” What if we fail to understand that the Commandment are given as love? To share Love.
So we go to the LORD and we ask Him to take up our case,to examine us as to whether or not we trully Love His Commandments. As the Prophet Micah says, “I will be patient as the LORD punishes me,for I have sinned against Him. But after that He will take up my case and give me justice for all I have suffered from my enemies. …” Micah 7:9. AS Paul say, we all fall short of the glory, we are all still sinners. Then, having confessed how weak and failures we are we can say, “O LORD, oppose those who oppose me. Fight those who fight me.” Psalm 35:1 (NLT) The question is are we fighting the enemies of God or are we contending with the Children of God basing our beliefs on bad understanding. When does our understanding become “legalism” even as we protest the very same.

Salvation does not come to those who ignore the Law, but to those who Love the Law giver. Even among the believers in God there are those who know nothing of His Love, who show no love. Truly these are the wicked. They are the one far from rescue, those who feign believe but in their hearts ridicule God with their words, deeds and thoughts. The ones who say, God does not care what I do, I once said I believe in Him and that is my ticket to Paradise. O foolish people, do you not know in the Day of Judgement, Jesus will say, I know you not? Those who do not even bother to obey? To follow the Commandments of Love and Compassion? For all of the commandments are of God’s Love and Compassion for us, to keep us healthy, prosperous, emotionally calm, spiritually, sound. If we use the Word to destroy,to demean,to bring down then we are not following or loving the Law, we are enemies of it.

God told the people, before the exile, “Listen to Me, you stubborn people who are so far from doing right. For I am ready to set things right, not in the distant future,but right now!” Isaiah 46:12-13a (NLT) And He did, “He brought the Good News of Peace to you gentiles who were far away from Him and peace to the Jews who were near. Now all of us can come to the Father through the same Holy Spirit because of what Christ has done for us.” Eph 2:17,18 (NLT). So are we to be stubborn? or are we to be willing to obey the heart of the Law? Proverbs 1:8 says, My child, listen when you father corrects you. Don’t neglect your mother’s instructions.” Proverbs 1:8 Is not God our Father? is not the Holy Spirit like a mother’s Instructions to us? Is not Christ’s Holy Church our unity with God? The Church who is Christ?

David cries out, ” O LORD, you are so good,so ready to forgive,so full of unfailing love for all who ask for Your help. …But you,O LORD, are a God of compassion and mercy, slow to anger and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness.”
Psalm 86: 5,15 (NLT) Let us be revived by His Law, not placed into bondage,as did the pharisees, but bonded in Love by
Christ. Let our cry be to the Father who revives us with great Compassion when we still in foolish pride, revile against His very Love. Let us find hope in the Law, Peace in the Law Love in the Law and Faithfulness in the Law. Let us not be like the prideful people of Jerusalem,who rebelled against Ezra and the Law. It is not enough to say I am Christian, we must fulfill the Word in our lives as Christ fulfilled the Promise to the Father. The Law of Love and Compassion, that Christ gave us,must be our life blood.

Unlikely as it seems, in most of the world, “You will be arrested, persecuted, and killed. You will be hated all over the world because you are My followers. And many will turn away, from Me, and betray and hate each other.” Matt. 24:9 (NLT) So much for,once saved always saved. Yes even those who once believed will turn against you,we must be on watch that we do not in our own distortions of faith, turn against the will of God. AS the Jews turned against Christ Jesus so quickly, we in our pride turn against Him. We create lawlessness, and turmoil where there should be love and obedience. the sons of Korah write,(Psalm 44:21-23) “But for your sake we are killed every day; we are beings slaughtered like sheep. Wake up O LORD! Why do you sleep? Get up! Do not reject us forever.” One of the reasons for writing is to wake US up to the reality that Christians the world over are being persecuted and we sit around and contend with each other over minor things forgetting that the Law was given out of God’s Love for us. He does not want us to suffer persecutions but we will, partly because we have abused His Love in the treatment of others,failing to show Love and Compassion, rejecting His Law for our own.

Ezekiel warns us that the day will come when God’s Judgement will fall on people who once called him LORD, bu the makes a promise to those who remain faithful. “[God ] said to Him (the man with the writing case = Jesus), ‘walk through the streets of Jerusalem and put a mark on the foreheads of all who weep and sigh because of the detestable sins being committed in their city.’ The he heard the LORD say to the other men. ‘Follow behind Him through the city and kill everyone whose forehead is not marked.'” Show no mercy,have no pity! Ezra says, the people of the city, the traitors to God, make him sick at heart. Can you imagine how sick at heart God is with us who mock His Law? Those who words say one thing yet in our hearts we live another more cruel reality? Yes God is merciful and forgiving but he hates mockery, falsehood and a lying heart.

Nehemiah was present in Jerusalem during this period of time, he was the governor sent by Cyrus to establish authority and order. He was give a free hand in the rule over the people. In it he dealt with each person fairly, and refused to be bribed,even take pay for leading the people. He was a part of the re-establishing the Law of Moses in the Land and at the end of it all, he said,”Remember me, O my God,all that I have done for these people,and bless me for it.” It is not what we do for ourselves, how holy we are but how we treat others, that God will remember us. If we want God’s Unfailing love, then we should be ready to give it to each other, If we want to be remembered as trustworthy, then we should be trustworthy in loving. The very essence of God’s Love is in His Law. The fragrance of His Love is in His Mercy. And His Law, Love and Compassion will last forever. While some things change, some laws are no longer applicable, the heart of the Law remains: The Law is given because God is fill of Unquenchable Love.

Three things never to forget: Every word of God proves true. He is a shield to all who come to Him for protection ~ Proverbs 30:5
All scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. ~ 2 Timothy 3:16
“I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not even the smallest detail of God’s Law will disappear until its purpose is achieved.” ~Matthew 5:18

Blessed is the Word of God.

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