AUSTRALIAN BIBLE CHURCH – September 18, 2005
THE DYNAMICS OF DEVOTION
AND LIFE WITH THE LORD:
A king displaying the contours of companionship with the Lord
A pageant of devotion from a
disciple of deity
Psalms 62-63 with the Case of Blind Bartimaeus
I EXULTATION IN THE LORD
Fervent faith with constant desire for the Lord breeds praise and realisation of His wonderful works. Watch this way, follow it, engulf yourself in it, and know the Lord.
Silent Prayer … Heaving the burden onto the Lord, kneeling in spirit, lifting
the eyes … there are many issues, but there is one LORD to handle them:
“Be still and know that I am God!”, He says.
There is a single rock, salvation, an ample defence … WAR is on (Ephesians 6:12)
– therefore victory is to be sought from the One where it belongs, in His name,
by His power, through faith.
Salivating slanderers cannot penetrate the Rock, in which refuge, one is safe.
Slender time is not the Lord’s way – be expansive: He listens to our case, the
heart’s prayer. HE invented time: spend it with Him. Detach the shadows of
lesser things, deal with HIM, seek the spiritual X-ray (cf. Psalm 139:23), and
as you TALK, TRUST (v. 8); and as you trust, trust HIM.
62:9-12 Strike no bond or agreement with evil ways, wiles or their instigators: it is to GOD that power belongs, so do not sell yourself short, but rather give yourself altogether to the Lord, and delight in Him.
II THE LORD IS BETTER THAN LIFE - Psalm 63
Thirst for God ?
it is a grand thing. If you have it, it is comparable to that for water
“in a dry and thirsty land.” THINK about that!
Seek Him a) at the outset of all
events, b) at the outset of the day:
His face seek (Psalm 27:8), and find. Here there comes to you satiated thirst, the completion of restless longing, the heart’s desire (Psalm 37:4). “Delight yourself also in the Lord and He shall give you the desires of your heart.” The cry arises, help comes: joy resounds from the caverns of contentment in the depth of the soul (Psalm 145:18-19).
Life itself is
less than the Lord’s lovingkindness. It is incomparably precious, vital,
alerting, sustaining, blessing (Isaiah 40:26-4`). Thus praise is not mere duty,
but joy in integrity.
from God leads on to nestling under His wing (cf. Matthew 23:37).
63:9-11 Haters, liars, are assigned to the abyss; but those reigning in life, rejoice in hope. Further, lying mouths are only temporary: their stoppage is coming.
What now of Nineveh, Assyria’s proud imperial city, of Babylon, a byword for the lost, of Tyre, almost legend, its fall exacting, step by step, into that very sea which had been its glory! Where now Stalin, by some report assassinated as he lay near death, by opportunists, and where is Hitler, his body burnt in his bunker or nearby ? where is Krushchev, removed from power, or where the Berlin wall, flown over! The world has long been taught in the laboratory of history, but it will not learn. Its final lusts will be international, the Lord’s response global on His return to this pleasant orb, which makes itself so fiery.
III PURSUING GOD – Psalm 63:7-8
“Because YOU have
been my help,
therefore in the shadow of Your wings I will rejoice.
My soul follows close behind You; Your right hand upholds me.”
Here we have three images. David is rejoicing in the SHADOW of His wings
Following close behind Him … WHILE the Lord’s right hand upholds him.
Thus in these two verses, we find three great features.
There is the QUIET CONFIDENCE, the REST in FAITH (Matthew 11:27-30).
There is the GLORIOUS PURSUIT, the RUSH of FAITH.
There is the CONVICTION that power belongs to God (as so dramatically stated in Psalm 62:11), strength arising through faith, that divinely provided life-line for the passage of His power to David.
In this vigorous pursuit of God, remorseless, keen, assured, we are reminded of Luke 11:5-13. This contains the parable of the one seeking bread at night, and unsuccessful because the householder sought is happily in bed. However in the end the seeker prevails because he keeps at it: the word for this pursuit is translated variously persistence or importunity. You remember ? he is heard for his importunity! The Greek word, back of this, can be translated, ‘shamelessness’ or ‘impudence’! It means literally that you have no shame. It is the case all over again of Bartimaeus who, told to be quiet, calls rather the louder; and it is NOT the Lord who told him to be quiet, but associates: so TRUST IN HIM ONLY!
APPLICATION TO BLIND BARTIMAEUS
“Now they came to Jericho. As He went out of Jericho with His disciples and a great multitude, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the road begging. And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
“Then many warned him to be quiet; but he cried out all the more, ‘Son of David, have mercy on me!’ So Jesus stood still and commanded him to be called. Then they called the blind man, saying to him, ‘Be of good cheer. Rise, He is calling you.’ And throwing aside his garment, he rose and came to Jesus. So Jesus answered and said to him, ‘What do you want Me to do for you?’ The blind man said to Him, ‘Rabboni, that I may receive my sight.’ Then Jesus said to him, ‘Go your way; your faith has made you well.’ And immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus on the road” (Mark 10:46-52 - special focal points selected are in red).
Notice that he began to cry out! He did not suffer in silence as if a Stoic, nor did he rumble to some godless variety of psychiatrist: for his cry was to Jesus the Christ! It was for mercy that he cried. He did not come on some palsy-walsy, you know how it is sort of climate of self-indulgence, but sought MERCY! as a sinner.
He met a warning: but this was not from God. Be still! Therefore, do not let others dissuade you from seeking mercy from God, whatever you do! Blind Bartimaeus was wise enough not to listen to these dissuaders, so follow his example!
Notice however that some then did encourage him, because JESUS STOOD STILL. How amazing! God in flesh at the relentless cry for mercy stood still! He listened, He heeded, He was interested, He did not do something else instead, He did not listen to those who were telling the man to be still, for ... Jesus stood still and COMMANDED HIM TO BE CALLED. He did not lurk, smirk, or shirk, but caused a command to go: Call him! Like Bartimaeus, throw off your garment of independence.
Have YOU been called ? to salvation ? have you come and sought mercy ? and found that God stands still at your request, for whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved (cf. Romans 10:9, which specifies further, and Acts 2:21, where this is written, from the mouth of Peter who pronounced it at Pentecost - that giant laboratory for souls, where INTELLIGIBLE preaching was given to listening crowds because of intelligible languages miraculously supplied for that grand birth-day of the Church following Christ's advent, to enable the causeway of world missions to be built and shown in advance!).
God is a great missioner, by this means and by that. He does not seek that the world be condemned, but that it might be saved, and it being lost, He saves sinners who by faith come to Him seeking mercy from His Cross cancellation of sin for all who come by faith in repentance, and with the power of His resurrection by which He arose from the dead to demonstrate eternal life to all.
Come to Him and seek mercy, and He will listen to the cry of faith. Bartimaeus was not silenced, and here we come to that feature we have so far omitted. HE CRIED ALL THE MORE. Think of that. People (or for some, their own consciences!) tell them, be quiet, it is useless. But he cries all the more: instead of being discouraged in his search for divine mercy, he is the more relentless. Why ? it is because he believes that Jesus the Christ is not going to ignore a straightforward request for mercy.
Notice this too, that it is when he comes that Christ asks Him just what he wants. Mercy is not withheld from the seeker in faith, and what particular mercy is going to be given is to be found when you meet with Him, as Bartimaeus did, because in his cry FOR MERCY, he is not stilled, but by faith proceeds unquenchable! What a reward! In this case, he is simply asked what it is that he wants. Why would he be asked ? It is that he might formulate what in such faith he has sought. Often someone may be tempted NOT to ask for the actual thing wanted, but if it be godly and necessary for godly living (II Peter 1), it will be granted. In this case, the Lord set no specifications, and Bartimaeus had thus his heart's desire.
AS you follow hard after Him, your heart meanwhile at rest in faith concerning Him, then HE upholds you, as you see here illustrated that right over the heads of misled disciples, JESUS stands still and calls personally for Bartimaeus to come, then asks him simply: What do you want Me to do for you ? He told Him and got it. Seek to realise what you seek and WHY! when you come to Him!
Moreover, remember that you do not carry the burden, He does, so rest it there. Your burden ? First you cast it upon Him (Psalm 55:22), and as you do, HE sustains you. YOU move a mountain ? ludicrous! but by faith you seek for HIM to do so, and by Him it can be done if the task is needful for godly living. Many things appear too hard, but ONE THING is never too hard, that is to follow HARD AFTER HIM! Do you not see that when you see a wonder, you pursue it, forgetful of limitations or apparent impossibilities ?
When you seek Him because He is and is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6), recall that the One to act is He who is, throughout all eternity, the God who acts, the ONLY ONE who does so, the only God (Isaiah 45, 64:4-5). Call upon the GOD WHO ACTS, and expect action. Join with David who knew hardship and ostracism as well as fame, and remind yourself that HE ONLY is your rock and your salvation, your Deliverer, your protector and Tower. Act then on this, by faith.