Category: Guest Author

Keep Calm and Carry On

By Franklin L. Kirksey, Pastor, First Baptist Church of Spanish Fort, Alabama, and author of Sound Biblical Preaching: Giving the Bible a Voice.

These expositions by Dr. Kirksey are offered to suggest sermon or Bible study ideas for pastors and other church leaders, both from the exposition and from the illustrative material, or simply for personal devotion.

Psalm 7:1-17

 


Introduction

Keep Calm and Carry On was a slogan developed by the British Ministry of Information in 1939.  The slogan printed on posters to appear in public places to boost morale among the citizens in the event of a German invasion.[1] Thankfully, Adolf Hitler (1889-1945) was unsuccessful in his maniacal attempt in World War II.

David, the author of this psalm, was familiar with war.  We read in 1 Samuel 17:33, “And Saul said to David, ‘You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him; for you are a youth, and he a man of war from his youth.’”  Later, in 1 Chronicles 28:3 David recounted, “But God said to me, ‘You shall not build a house for My name, because you have been a man of war and have shed blood.”

Rev. Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-1892) explains, “David was called to be a man of war, and he was eminently successful in his battles; he does not trace this to his good generalship or valour, but to his being taught and strengthened for the war and the fight.  If the Lord deigns to have a hand in such unspiritual work as fighting, surely he will help us to proclaim the gospel and win souls; and then we will bless his name with even greater intensity of heart.  We will be pupils, and he shall be our Master, and if we ever accomplish anything we will give our Instructor hearty blessing.  This verse [Psalm 144:1] is full of personality; it is mercy shown to David himself which is the subject of grateful song.”[2]

The British Ministry of Information put away the aforementioned posters featuring a British Crown carrying the message, “Keep Calm and Carry On”.  They did this because the British did not need them in the war effort.  Consequently, these posters disappeared from sight and the message became a passing memory, until one day in 2000.  It was then that Stuart and Mary Manley, the owners of a shop in north England named Barter Books, discovered one of the posters in the bottom of a box of books.  They framed it and due to its popularity they began printing them.  Later, someone designed parodies of the poster with an upside-down crown with “Now Panic and Freak Out”.[3]

When everything within tells you “Now Panic and Freak Out” remember to “Keep Calm and Carry On”.  We know that when David wrote Psalm 7 he was likely “frenzied” and or “emotional” according to the transliteration of a Hebrew word “Shiggaion” (sshihg gay’ ahn) found in the title of this psalm.[4] Dr. Warren W. Wiersbe explains, “‘Shiggaion’ is used only here in the Psalms (but see Hab. 3:1) and could mean ‘a passionate psalm with strong emotion.’  Some believe it comes from a word meaning ‘to wander, to cry aloud.’”[5]

David writes in Psalm 7:1-17, “O Lord my God, in You I put my trust; Save me from all those who persecute me; / And deliver me.  Lest they tear me like a lion, / Rending me in pieces, while there is none to deliver.  O Lord my God, if I have done this:  If there is iniquity in my hands, /  If I have repaid evil to him who was at peace with me, / Or have plundered my enemy without cause, / Let the enemy pursue me and overtake me; / Yes, let him trample my life to the earth, / And lay my honor in the dust.  Selah Arise, O Lord, in Your anger; / Lift Yourself up because of the rage of my enemies; / Rise up for me to the judgment You have commanded!  So the congregation of the peoples shall surround You; / For their sakes, therefore, return on high.  The Lord shall judge the peoples; / Judge me, O Lord, according to my righteousness, / And according to my integrity within me.  Oh, let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end, / But establish the just; / For the righteous God tests the hearts and minds.  My defense is of God, / Who saves the upright in heart.  God is a just judge, / And God is angry with the wicked every day.  If he does not turn back, / He will sharpen His sword; / He bends His bow and makes it ready.  He also prepares for Himself instruments of death; / He makes His arrows into fiery shafts.  Behold, the wicked brings forth iniquity; / Yes, he conceives trouble and brings forth falsehood.  He made a pit and dug it out, / And has fallen into the ditch which he made.  His trouble shall return upon his own head, / And his violent dealing shall come down on his own crown.  I will praise the Lord according to His righteousness, / And will sing praise to the name of the Lord Most High.”

Please note three points from our passage.

I. First, note the supplication he lifted up to the Lord.

From Psalm 7:1, 6-13 we read, “O Lord my God, in You I put my trust; Save me from all those who persecute me; / And deliver me. . .  .  Arise, O Lord, in Your anger; / Lift Yourself up because of the rage of my enemies; / Rise up for me to the judgment You have commanded!  So the congregation of the peoples shall surround You; / For their sakes, therefore, return on high.  The Lord shall judge the peoples; / Judge me, O Lord, according to my righteousness, / And according to my integrity within me.  Oh, let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end, / But establish the just; / For the righteous God tests the hearts and minds.  My defense is of God, / Who saves the upright in heart.  God is a just judge, / And God is angry with the wicked every day.  If he does not turn back, / He will sharpen His sword; / He bends His bow and makes it ready.  He also prepares for Himself instruments of death; / He makes His arrows into fiery shafts.”

One of the greatest verses on supplication is found in Jeremiah 33:3, where we read, “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.”  Also from Psalm 66:16-19 we read, “Come and hear, all you who fear God, / And I will declare what He has done for my soul.  I cried to Him with my mouth, / And He was extolled with my tongue.  If I regard iniquity in my heart, / The Lord will not hear.  But certainly God has heard me; / He has attended to the voice of my prayer.”

 

II. Furthermore, note the situation he laid out before the Lord.

From Psalm 7:2-5 we read, “Lest they tear me like a lion, / Rending me in pieces, while there is none to deliver.  O Lord my God, if I have done this:  If there is iniquity in my hands, /  If I have repaid evil to him who was at peace with me, / Or have plundered my enemy without cause, / Let the enemy pursue me and overtake me; / Yes, let him trample my life to the earth, / And lay my honor in the dust.  Selah”

In a similar way we read of Jehoshaphat in 2 Chronicles 20:5-12, “Then Jehoshaphat stood in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of the Lord, before the new court, and said: ‘O Lord God of our fathers, are You not God in heaven, and do You not rule over all the kingdoms of the nations, and in Your hand is there not power and might, so that no one is able to withstand You?  Are You not our God, who drove out the inhabitants of this land before Your people Israel, and gave it to the descendants of Abraham Your friend forever?  And they dwell in it, and have built You a sanctuary in it for Your name, saying, / ‘If disaster comes upon us—sword, judgment, pestilence, or famine—we will stand before this temple and in Your presence (for Your name is in this temple), and cry out to You in our affliction, and You will hear and save.’  And now, here are the people of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir—whom You would not let Israel invade when they came out of the land of Egypt, but they turned from them and did not destroy them— here they are, rewarding us by coming to throw us out of Your possession which You have given us to inherit.  O our God, will You not judge them?  For we have no power against this great multitude that is coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are upon You.”

Don Fleming, a prolific author and Bible teacher from Belmont, Queensland, Australia, explains, “Unjustly pursued by fierce enemies, David turns to God for protection (1-2).  In a strongly worded statement he boldly declares his innocence (3-5).  He appeals to the judge of heaven and earth also to declare his innocence, and in addition to condemn his enemies (6-9).  David’s confidence is that God always acts justly (10-11).  Therefore, those who are evil should turn from their sin, otherwise they will be overtaken by God’s judgment (12-13).”[6]

 

III. Finally, note the salvation he looked for from the Lord.

From Psalm 7:14-17 we read, “Behold, the wicked brings forth iniquity; / Yes, he conceives trouble and brings forth falsehood.  He made a pit and dug it out, / And has fallen into the ditch which he made.  His trouble shall return upon his own head, / And his violent dealing shall come down on his own crown.  I will praise the Lord according to His righteousness, / And will sing praise to the name of the Lord Most High.”

A. We find David’s expectation of deliverance from the Lord. David writes, “He made a pit and dug it out, / And has fallen into the ditch which he made.  His trouble shall return upon his own head, / And his violent dealing shall come down on his own crown” (Psalm 7:15-16).  Note the similar thought expressed in Psalm 9:16, 37:14-15, and 57:6, where we read, “The Lord is known by the judgment He executes; / The wicked is snared in the work of his own hands. . . .  The wicked have drawn the sword / And have bent their bow, / To cast down the poor and needy, / To slay those who are of upright conduct.  Their sword shall enter their own heart, / And their bows shall be broken. . . .  They have prepared a net for my steps; / My soul is bowed down; / They have dug a pit before me; / Into the midst of it they themselves have fallen.”  From 1 Samuel 25:39 we read, “So when David heard that Nabal was dead, he said, ‘Blessed be the Lord, who has pleaded the cause of my reproach from the hand of Nabal, and has kept His servant from evil!  For the Lord has returned the wickedness of Nabal on his own head.’”  From Proverbs 26:27 we read, “Whoever digs a pit will fall into it, / And he who rolls a stone will have it roll back on him.”

Another biblical illustration of this principle that comes to mind was when Haman was hanged on the gallows he built to hang Mordecai (Esther 7).

Rev. James Comper Gray (1826-1904) and Rev. George Moulton Adams (1824-1906) share the following account in their commentary, “The Emperor Charlemagne wanted to have a magnificent bell cast for the church he had built.  An artist named Tancho was employed by the church to make it.  He was furnished, at his own request, with a great quantity of copper, and a hundred pounds of silver for the purpose.  He kept the silver for his own personal use, however, and substituted in its place a quantity of highly purified tin.  When the work was completed, he presented the bell to the Emperor, who had it suspended in the church tower.  The people, however, were unable to ring it.  So Tancho himself was called in to help.  But he pulled so hard that its tongue fell down and killed him.”[7]

Dr. Adam Clarke (1762-1832) comments, “As to Cush the Benjamite, he is a person unknown in the Jewish history; the name is probably a name of disguise; and by it he may covertly mean Saul himself, the son of Kish, who was of the tribe of Benjamin.  The subject of the Psalm will better answer to Saul’s unjust persecution and David’s innocence, than to any other subject in the history of David.”[8]

Dr. Warren W. Wiersbe comments, “God abandoned King Saul to his own ways (1 Sam. 15), and ultimately both the arrow and the sword caught up with him (vv. 12-13; 1 Sam. 31:3-4).  He wanted to kill David, but his own sword killed him.”[9]

 

B. We find David’s expression of delight in the Lord. David writes, “I will praise the Lord according to His righteousness, / And will sing praise to the name of the Lord Most High” (Psalm 7:17).

Paul the apostle writes in Philippians 4:6-7, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

We understand “Be Still, My Soul” was a favorite hymn of Eric Liddell, the famed 1924 British Olympian.  He later became a missionary to China where they imprisoned him during World War II.  He taught this hymn to his fellow prisoners.  Allow me to share the first stanza:  “Be still, my soul: the Lord is on thy side.  Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain.  Leave to thy God to order and provide; / In every change, He faithful will remain.  Be still, my soul: thy best, thy heavenly Friend / Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.”[10] Doubtless, the Lord used this hymn to help Liddell and his fellow inmates to keep calm and carry on.

 

Conclusion

Jesus said, “These things I have spoken to you in figurative language; but the time is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figurative language, but I will tell you plainly about the Father.  In that day you will ask in My name, and I do not say to you that I shall pray the Father for you;  for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me, and have believed that I came forth from God.  I came forth from the Father and have come into the world.  Again, I leave the world and go to the Father.’  His disciples said to Him, ‘See, now You are speaking plainly, and using no figure of speech!  Now we are sure that You know all things, and have no need that anyone should question You.  By this we believe that You came forth from God.’  Jesus answered them, ‘Do you now believe?  Indeed the hour is coming, yes, has now come, that you will be scattered, each to his own, and will leave Me alone.  And yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me.  These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace.  In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:25-33).  Keep Calm and Carry On.

Paul warns in 2 Timothy 3:1-16, “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come:  For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power.  And from such people turn away!  For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.  Now as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, disapproved concerning the faith; but they will progress no further, for their folly will be manifest to all, as theirs also was.  But you have carefully followed my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, perseverance, persecutions, afflictions, which happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra—what persecutions I endured.  And out of them all the Lord delivered me.  Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.  But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.  But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.  All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”  Keep Calm and Carry On.

Peter writes in 1 Peter 4:12-19, “Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.  If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.  On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified.  But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people’s matters.  Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter.  For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?  Now ‘If the righteous one is scarcely saved, / Where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?’  Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator.”  Keep Calm and Carry On.

 


[2]Available from: http://www.spurgeon.org/treasury/ps144.htm Accessed: 08/30/12

 

[3]Rob Walker, “Remixed Messages”, The New York Times Magazine (New York: The New York Times Company, 2009), Available from: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/05/magazine/05FOB-consumed-t.html?_r=3&ref=magazine Accessed: 08/31/12

 

[4]Holman Bible Dictionary, ed. Trent C. Butler, (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman, 1991) “SHIGGAION”, Available from:
http://www.studylight.org/dic/hbd/view.cgi?number=T5775 Accessed: 08/31/12

 

[5]Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, Old Testament, Wisdom and Poetry, (Colorado Springs, CO: David C. Cook, 2004), p.100

 

[6]Don Fleming, Concise Biblical Commentary, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG, 1994), 189, Database © 2007 WORDsearch Corp.

 

[7]James Comper Gray and George Moulton Adams, Gray & Adams Bible Commentary, (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1903, 1951), Cited by Richard DeHaan, Our Daily Bread, “We Reap What We Sow”, Galatians 6:7 (Grand Rapids, MI: Our Daily Bread, n.d.), Available from: http://www.preceptaustin.org/galatians_68_commentary.htm Accessed: 08/31/12

 

[8]Adam Clarke, Adam Clarke’s Commentary on the New Testament, Database © 2004 WORDsearch Corp.

 

[9]Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, Old Testament, Wisdom and Poetry, (Colorado Springs, CO: David C. Cook, 2004), p.101

 

[10]Katharina A. von Schlegel, trans. by Jane L. Borthwick, “Be Still, My Soul”, (1752, 1855), Available from: http://www.cyberhymnal.org/htm/b/e/bestill.htm Accessed: 09/16/12

 

By Dr. Franklin L. Kirksey, pastor First Baptist Church of Spanish Fort 30775 Jay Drive Spanish Fort, Alabama 36527

Author of Sound Biblical Preaching: Giving the Bible a Voice Available on Amazon.com and WORDsearchbible.com

http://www.amazon.com/Sound-Biblical-Preaching-Giving-Bible/dp/1594577684

http://www.wordsearchbible.com/products/Sound_Biblical_Preaching_1476.html

http://www.webspawner.com/users/franklinlkirksey / fkirksey@bellsouth.net / (251) 626-6210

© November 11, 2012 All Rights Reserved

 

 

Microwaves and More

By Walker Moore

Walker Moore founded AweStar Ministries, a missions organization that has put thousands of teens on fields ‘white unto harvest’ around the world.

 


I bet many of you readers are like me and remember when you got your first microwave oven. Years ago, a young man in our church wanted to do something special for our family. He approached me and asked if we had a microwave oven.

I’d heard about these newfangled contraptions. As far as I knew, owning one was like having a personal atomic nuclear reactor. I grew up in the days when nuclear war was in the forefront of everybody’s mind. We had school drills in which teachers told us if we saw the big mushroom in the sky, we should either jump into a ditch or hide under our tiny wooden desks.

Beyond those terrifying drills, I’d watched the old black-and-white television show Flash Gordon and seen how destructive microwaves could be. A rumor went around that if you didn’t close the microwave door tight enough, some kind of gamma rays would leak out and you’d end up looking like a hairless Chihuahua or Uncle Ed.

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Quoting Statistics May Undermine Truth, part II

by Ronnie Rogers

Ronnie Rogers is senior pastor of Trinity Baptist Church in Norman, Okla., a university city cited by the North American Mission Board in 2006 as the most unchurched in the state. Pastor Rogers’ expositional sermons draw large collegiate crowds during the school year as he preaches and teaches (and writes) from a biblical perspective that boldly challenges popular culture.


cont’d from yesterday’s article

Nothing in this article is to be construed as anti-science. I have a deep appreciation for science, and a number of scientists are members of the church I serve. Rather, my concern is to guard Christians from undue reliance upon science, mistaking scientism for science, or minimizing the need to know Scripture more deeply because of such reliance. In twenty-first century western culture, there is a great need for Christians to think biblically so that they can understand the benefits as well as the limitations of science, and when it is stealthily transformed into scientism. Following are some inherent liabilities of the tools previously mentioned:

  1. There are always conflicting conclusions between different studies and polls; thus, cherry picking is common.
  2. Statistics can be used to demonstrate almost anything by inclusion or omission of certain variables related to the study or poll.
  3. One rarely understands how the study or poll was actually done, which can dramatically transform both the study’s certainty and conclusions being presented.
  4. Often a conclusion drawn is presented as THE conclusion while it may in fact be only one of the derivable conclusions, or may actually be misleading when other variables are considered.
  5. Often these tools are used to demonstrate proof when, even at their best, they can actually only demonstrate varying degrees of probability.
  6. The wording of the questions, order of the questions, tone of the questioner, time of the questioning, and the pool of the questioned greatly influences the statistical data and conclusions.
  7. Double blind studies are rarely used.
  8. Fraud, personal agendas, shoddy work, biases, and misrepresentation of the data are found repeatedly, and without being privy to the entire process, etc., one cannot detect this.
  9. Decisions about what to do and not to do with regard to people, morals, etc., with these tools revamp the way modern man thinks, which is consistent with sole reliance upon science or scientism, but is actually contrary to linear, logical, or biblical thinking because all one needs to know is what does the most recent study—experiment—say.
  10. Although used to determine what ought to be and what ought not to be, these tools can only tell one what is or is not and can never tell one what should be.

For example, statistics may be used to show how many people are without health insurance, and the truth is that is all the statistics tell us. Therefore, when people start drawing conclusions from such statistics, they may very well be misreading the data or, perish the thought, misrepresenting the truth for their own agenda.

Say that thirty percent do not have insurance. This, in and of itself, does not tell us: how many have chosen not to have insurance, how many have chosen to spend their insurance money on other things, how many are covered through the generosity of hospitals, how many of those would rather be without governmental intrusion than to have insurance, how many are in transition between insurances, how many have strategically chosen to invest that money elsewhere for the potential future payoff and do not want to be forced to pay higher taxes for health care, how many have made personal decisions—even religious ones—which led them to be without insurance and do not think others should have to pay, how many have the intention but have not made the choice to spend their money on insurance or are waiting on someone else, how many have made a conscious decision to eliminate their insurance for what they deem to be a worthwhile alternative, ad infinitum!

It is the truth that makes one free, but the present undue reliance of preachers on these fragmentary tools in order to bolster their preaching conclusions may bear short-term fruit, but in the long run may undermine the very truth they passionately desire to communicate because it trains a whole generation to rely upon polls, statistics, and studies with credulous trust. Moreover, undue reliance upon science (not to mention scientism) affords very little incentive to develop a godly mind through devoted study and digging deeply into the Word of God.

 

Quoting Statistics May Undermine Truth, part I

by Ronnie Rogers

Ronnie Rogers is senior pastor of Trinity Baptist Church in Norman, Okla., a university city cited by the North American Mission Board in 2006 as the most unchurched in the state. Pastor Rogers’ expositional sermons draw large collegiate crowds during the school year as he preaches and teaches (and writes) from a biblical perspective that boldly challenges popular culture.


In the quest to seem with it in our present scientistic milieu, preachers and Christians often pursue fluency regarding the latest polls, statistics, and studies (punctiliar thinking) more than they seek understanding of the Scripture and linear thinking. This quest is often characterized by indiscriminate reliance upon and usage of these tools, which actually leads people farther from the truth both in their thinking processes and in their conclusions. Although these tools are useful at times, they should be used judiciously and sparingly lest one unwittingly becomes a scientistic myrmidon, and by his example leads others to do likewise.

Science proper is the systematic study of the physical nature, relationships, and interactions of physical phenomena.[i] Thus, the benefit of science is the knowledge it provides about the physicality of life; however, when scientific inquiry seeks to explain or comment upon more than that or limit knowable existence to that, it is no longer science, but scientism—naturalism.

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The Work of the Pastor

By Franklin L. Kirksey, Pastor, First Baptist Church of Spanish Fort, Alabama, and author of Sound Biblical Preaching: Giving the Bible a Voice.

These expositions by Dr. Kirksey are offered to suggest sermon or Bible study ideas for pastors and other church leaders, both from the exposition and from the illustrative material, or simply for personal devotion.

(Jeremiah 3:15 and 23:4)


Introduction

The work of the pastor is largely undone in many quarters because some believers are not doing what God called them to do.  Rev. Gary Hendrix observes, “In many instances the bottom line is that pastors must keep the people happy while also increasing the attendance (and collections).  How to accomplish these tasks can drive a person to distraction!  Perhaps some would find it surprising to know that neither of these objectives is specified in the Bible as the work of the pastor.  The primary work of the pastor, according to the Scriptures, is to feed and protect God’s people.  This is plain beyond dispute from passages such as: Jer. 3:15, 23:4; John 21:17; Acts 20:18-21, 26-28; 2Tim. 4:2; 1Peter 5:1-2.  This feeding and protecting is of a spiritual, and not physical, nature.  Christ appoints men, gifted by the Holy Spirit, to be over His churches in order that those men might instruct the redeemed in all His holy will and protect their souls from the errors and temptations which threaten them in this world.  God prospers His people as they trust Him according to His Word (doctrines, promises, commands, and warnings).  When people are deprived of the Scriptures and faithful instruction in them, they become susceptible to erroneous thoughts about God and life and right and wrong and the world to come.  They are also more likely to become ensnared in various evils.  Thus, the teaching and preaching of pastors comprise crucial means (or channels) through which the grace of God strengthens and fortifies true believers, while also making believers out of unbelievers.”[1]

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