Daily Verse – In the House!

Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

Psalms 23:6 NIVUK

Psalm 23 is familiar to most people, believers or not.

The view of God as a shepherd is an image which Jesus repeats and expands upon in the Gospels. Isaiah also depicts the coming Messiah in this imagery, contrary to most Jewish people’s ideal of the warrior king.

The Psalmist affirms surelyak – at least, certainly, nevertheless – God’s goodnesstowb – best, bountiful, favour – will followradaph (the only occurrence in the OT) – to chase, follow after, pursue – him/us.

I have purposefully left out the ‘love’ from the verse quoted at the top of the page, as in the Hebrew version it is written as mercycheced – merciful kindness, loving-kindness, mercy or pity.

The Psalmist trusts and has faith in the ‘Good Shepherd’ for the protection and gifts God provides but there is something that he will give in return – I will dwellyashab (this again is the only occurrence of this word) – make to abide, continue, make to dwell – in the house (it could be translated also as family) of the Lord.

The word translated as forever is also a little misleading. Rather than meaning ‘all the days in the future’ the Hebrew word yom means always or continually, implying daily or today and each day.

For what the Shepherd provides we are to continue in the family of God each and every day.

We ensure we remain in the House!

Daily Verse – Father, Potter, Handiwork.

Yet you, Lord, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.

Isaiah 64:8 NIVUK

This verse reminds the original hearer’s of Isaiah’s prophetic words of their origin stories.

The Lord – God – is our fatherab – principal or chief.

It was the Lord who made Adam from the dust of the earth.

We are the claychomer – a heap, the clay – in three other verses this word is used as a measure.

And the Lord is the, or more correctly ‘our’, potteryatsar – to fashion, to form, to frame, to make, to purpose – this is the only occurrence of this word in the OT.

God takes the raw materials and forms and frames us into his design and purpose.

We are the workmaaseh – the act, the product, the property – of the Lord’s hand.

We have the Lord as our father.

He is the mastercraftsperson who has imagined and formed us from a measure of raw material.

We are the product and property of His hand.

What we were, what we are, and what we become, is all down to the master potter.

We were the raw material, we are given shape at the wheel, and we are finished into the final product.

Creatively we can follow the same formula.

Gather your raw materials. Give them their shape. Reveal the final product.

Be deliberate and focused, and know that the final item is the sum of that creative work.

Nothing turns out wrong.

Daily Verse – Understanding Slowness.

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.

2 Peter 3:9 NIVUK

The Apostle Paul, writing to the faithful across Roman Asia Minor, reminds them the Lord is not slowbradunó – does not delay or hesitate (this is the only occurrence of this word in the NT).

The context refers to believers questioning when the Lord would return and establish his earthly kingdom, but there are many other verses across the Bible referring to God’s sense of timing and making it clear that we are not always on the same page as Him.

For those of you who can’t wait, make up your minds quickly and then immediately have to take action, don’t look at the preceding verse to today’s – ‘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.’

My wife decided in recent years that our boys could only open one Christmas present before church and the rest had to wait. They are both grown men but it drove them absolutely crazy. It is fair to them to point out that they are not ‘present-crazy’ but the very act of maing them wait makes them focus on the waiting rather than the present.

Peter’s word for slowness is also the only occurrence and is hégeomai – to judge, suppose, or think.

God’s timing is not what we necessarily understand as timing – see Verse 8 again.

There is an old joke which goes, ‘Do you want to make God laugh? Then tell Him your plans!’ He may well laugh at our plans but the secret here is related to our timing. This is understandable on our part as we only have a limited lifespan, so we feel the need to get on with it.

Whether we have a problem or a plan, both will be different if we look at them through God’s timepiece. Much of our anxiety, frustration, disappointment, comes from the ever growing sense of ‘now!’. Have you noticed how so many things in our society promise faster and more?

God is patient with us – makrothumeó – to have long patience with us.

We come back to God’s timing not being as we understand timing.

We need to cultivate more patience in ourselves.

If what we are doing is from God then it will happen but in his time.

Sometimes our slow maybe God’s haste.

Through prayer and thanksgiving for what we have already achieved, we will gain a sense of God’s timing and can act accordingly.

Daily Verse – Endurance, Encouragement, Hope.

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.

Romans 15:4 NIVUK

There are more opinions and points of view in the world now than there has ever been.

News outlets and social media algorythms may try and manoevure you down a particular path, but search any #hastag on any topic and you will see what I mean.

It was no different in the 1st Century Church.

The main pull, or push, here was the necessity or centrality of the Jewish scriptures to the new followers of the Way.

The Apostles were all Jews, as were many of the first disciples, but this was quickly changing with many examples being given in the first chapters of the Book of Acts.

The Apostle Paul wrote the Book of Romans whilst under ‘house arrest’ to new believers in Rome. These new believers had different backgrounds and religious upbringings. Most were not Jews.

Before this Paul had challenged Peter, Jesus’ brother James, and other leaders of the church, face to face in Jerusalem over new believers being drawn into Jewish customs, which were not strictly of the teachings of Jesus.

In this verse Paul is explaining that the Hebrew scriptures were important for teaching us, not matter what our religious background or ethnicity.

The scriptures teach us endurancehupomoné – patience, steadfastness, or consistency – through many examples of faith and following the Word of the Lord; Abraham, Noah, Daniel, Joseph, spring readily to mind.

The scriptures also give us encouragementparaklésis – comfort, consolation, solace, exhortation – the Psalms are the obvious examples.

Together, Paul tells us that endurance and encouragement are there to provide sustanence for our hopeelpis – an expection or a confidence. It can also be translated as ‘faith’ – the scriptures support our faith through the people who have lived out that faith themselves.

The Book of Hebrews provides a very worthy list of those Old Testament ‘heroes of faith’.

Each, in our own individual way, will have to endure difficulties and hardships, disappointments and disadvantages, but Paul reminds us that with patience and consistency, a steadfast attitude, we will meet the challenge. There will also be encouragement to give us confidence and an expectation of comfort and consolation, through our faith.

Scripture is important because it reminds us that we are amongst many faithful followers of the Lord, who look to and call upon God.

Daily Verse – Good Life and Deeds.

Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.

James 3:13 NIVUK

If we were in a classroom and I asked for a show of hands of who considered themselves wise and knowledgable, I am not sure how many would raise them.

Sure, most of us would probably think we should be raising our hands, and a few would be confident and do it.

For those that did raise their hands my follow up question would be to prove it. At this point the rest of you who breathe a sigh of relief that you kept your hands down and didn’t fall into the trap.

In this verse James, Jesus’ brother, poses the same question, but before any hands go up he tells you how you can prove it.

Who is wisesophos – literally wise in its most general application – and understandingepistémón – this is the only occurrence in the NT – intelligent or filled with knowledge – among you?

The proof of your wisdom and intelligence is in how you show it – deiknumi – again this is the only occurrence of this word in the NT – to show literally or figuratively.

James is clear that you show you wisdom and intelligence, not through debates or winning quizzes, by impressing others with your encyclopaedic knowledge on any topic they care to mention, but through living a ‘good life’ and your ‘deeds’.

A goodkalos – valuable or virtuous, fair, honest, worthy – lifeanastrophé – conduct or behaviour.

By deeds done – ergon – an act, doing work or labour.

James declares if you have knowledge and understanding then there will be a physical ‘something’ which comes from that wisdom and knowledge and everyone can see it.

He had seen this in action through his brother.

At the age of twelve, Jesus had astonished the teachers in the Temple at his knowledge of the Torah. He continued to amaze and challenge those teachers and the Temple authorities during his ministry years.

Jesus was clear – knowledge and wisdom in the Torah was worthless if it was not displayed in actions.

It was taught that God was filled with mercy and compassion. Jesus proved it by ministering to the needs of the people through healing, feeding, emotional support, and allowing them to understand God better.

So use your wisdom and understanding living a good life with deeds done.

Daily Verse – Will, Act, Good!

for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfil his good purpose.

Philippians 2:13 NIVUK

It is common for us to see ourselves in isolation.

As our work environments have been forced mostly into solitary affairs due to the Pandemic, and the suspension for long periods of time for any form of group interaction, we have become even more fixated in what I often refer to the ‘i-Generation’.

Everything is geared around us as individuals.

Sometimes this can be positive, where we can access knowledge and entertainment curated to our specific interests, but we can also be manipulated and suggested streams of information without us specifically searching it out.

In this verse, the Apostle Paul reminds us that we are not alone.

God is works – energeó – active, effectual, mighty – in us.

What exactly is it that God is working within us for?

To will – theló – desire, be disposed, to intend – us to act or work – it is the same root word as God working in us – in order – huper – on behalf of – God to complete His good purpose – eudokia (this is the only occurence in the NT) – His delight, His kindness, His good pleasure.

God uses us to bring His light and goodness to others.

The more we become ‘i’ the less able He is able to work within us.

As we share ourselves with God, He works within us to enable us to ‘pay it forward’.

Will. Act. Good.

Daily Verse – Peace of Mind

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.

Isaiah 26:3 NIVUK

In today’s world it can be difficult to gain peace of mind.

In fact it is a new industry, with coaches, books and podcasts, magazines and countless YouTube videos, telling you how to quieten your thoughts and take refuge from the daily grind.

Isaiah appears to have been ahead of the curve.

Over two and a half thousand years ago the Prophet was telling it like it is.

Trust in God and He will keep you in perfect peace.

To get the peace you need to have a mindyetser – the thoughts and imagination being framed in a particular way – to be steadfastsamak – (only occ. 2 times in OT) to lean on, to lay on, to establish yourself on, to put yourself on, to rest on.

Think in the manner of God and you will have peaceshalom – peace in every sense, favour, friendship, be happy, because you trustbatach – you are bold and confident in, secure and sure in, to have confidence and hope in, God.

Peace of mind comes from keeping your thoughts as close to God as you can. In response He will bring you peace, and in that you can have perfect trust.

Chasing around in the world will not give us peace, being close to God, through reading the scriptures, spending time in prayer, being closer to his creation, however, will bring us the peace we definitely need.

Daily Verse – First, Last, Everything.

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

Matthew 6:33 NIVUK

Ordinarily I try to only refer to the words in the chosen verse, but today I need to add a little context.

The ‘all these things’ mentioned in the second half of the verse relate back to Verse 30, where Jesus tells his disciples that the Pagans worry about what they shall eat, what they shall drink, and what they shall wear, but they should not as their ‘Heavenly Father’ knows they need these things.

The Greek work translated here in the second part of the verse as given is prostithémi and occurs only three times and one time each in Matthew, Mark, and Luke, often being translated as added, but its better sense is of increasing or being given more.

God knows you need to eat, drink, and clothe yourself, and he makes provision for that but . . .

First you must seek his kingdom and his righteousness.

Know and understand that God is aware of your physical needs, and we should not worry about this, use the time instead to seekzéteó – desire, endeavour, enquire – after God’s Kingdom and his reign, and his righteousnessdikaiosuné – the rightness or right action of God.

God is the first thing we should seek each day and the last thing at night.

From this constant attention and focus, He gives us everything we need.

Daily Verse – Taste and See.

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.

Psalms 34:8 NIVUK

One of the greatest first lines in a novel is reputed to be in George Orwell’s 1984 – ‘The clocks struck Thirteen’.

Our verse today may not be the beginning of the chapter but this verse has the same impact making you stop and pay attention.

Our brains are hard-wired towards order and being told to ‘taste’ to ‘see’ is not within order.

The Hebrew word taste is taam and occurs only here.

Its primitive root is to taste but if also occurs figuratively as to perceive.

When we taste something we are using more than just one sense, as our taste is also influenced by what we smell, and in part to what we see.

If we are offered a taste of something we understand that we are being invited to try the food and experience the flavours.

In some schools, potential new pupils are invited to have a ‘taster’ day. They will experience what that school environment is like.

The Psalmist tells us to taste – to experience, to get an idea of, and be influenced by those several senses – that the Lord is good.

Good – towb – is a much more common word often being translated as beautiful, best, better, cheerful, at ease, fair.

Blessed – esher – how happy or blessed – is the person who trusts – chasah (this is the only instance of the word) – puts trust in, has a hope in, makes a refuge – in Him.

Once you make the Lord your refuge, placing trust in Him, you will see and taste – experience in many ways – the goodness which comes from Him.

Taste and See!

Daily Verse – Trouble and Delivery.

The righteous person may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all;

Psalms 34:19

We used to have to deal with postage and packing.

Now it is mostly subscriptions and delivery.

There were, and can be, problems with both systems.

Most of the time it isn’t our fault.

In today’s Psalm we are told that a righteous person – tsaddiq – just and lawful – may have manyrab – abundance, enough, full, great – troublesra’ – adversities, afflictions, distresses – in life.

Who would be a righteous person, you might ask?

You act justly and lawfully, do you best by all others but still there can be problems.

In this verse there is no blame or incriminations, outwardly or inwardly.

You may have many problems – a simple fact.

But!

In the original Hebrew the word is kol and forms part of a longer phrase out of all of them.

It only occurs in this one instance and means every one, the whole, as many as, altogether.

Despite the troubles the Lord natsal – defends, delivers, without fail, snatches away, preserves, rescues, rids, saves – you from each and every one.

If you are in difficult circumstances they may not be your fault.

But even if some are, be assured that part of your ‘faith’ subscription you have delivery!

Troubles and delivery.

There are and will be troubles.

God delivers you from those troubles.

All of them. Every time.