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Proclaiming Hope for Humanity

Blessed are They That Mourn: For They Shall be Comforted.

 

Blessed Are They That Mourn: For They Shall Be Comforted

The word “mourn”; refers to a deep sorrow, an unendurable agony of spirit, an overpowering grief; that feels like we are being stabbed by a hot blade inflicting an incurable wound.

The word “mourn” is defined as:

1. A feeling and show of deep sorrow or regret

2. To grieve over

3. To be sorrowful, pained about and distressed

4. To  suffer, weep, ache, lament, sorrow, bewail, something

We understand this in the context of mourning the loss of a dear loved one. We can understand this in terms of regretting the passing of a loved one, or regret for our personal or organizational foolish decisions and sins of the past. How many times do we say, “I wish I had not done or said that”?

The Word of God brings eternal life; and departing from it brings decay, suffering and ultimately eternal death, unless repented of.

In Matthew 5, Jesus is telling us that if we repent and mourn sincerely over our past breaking of the Word of God; if we are thoroughly grieved by our past sins, deeply regretting them, being distressed by them and becoming sick over our past misconduct; if we have learned to loath any and all  departure from the Word of God; as the growing destroying spiritual cancer that leads to suffering and death that it is; if we sincerely repent of breaking any part of the whole Word of God; then the sacrifice of Jesus Christ will be applied to us!

No, Jesus will not tolerate any departure from the way of life as revealed in his Word! Yes, Jesus is love, which is why he hates the sin that destroys those he loves!

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Jesus Christ loves us and he wants to give us the gift of eternal life, but to receive that gift we must learn to live the way that brings LIFE; and any departure from the way of life is DEATH.

True sincere repentance means to loath past sins, to utterly regret them, to be so sickened by our departing from the way of life; that we commit ourselves to a total change in our conduct, to go and sin no more.

The wages of sin is death, and God wants us to learn to despise sin and to sorrow in deep repentance over our sins, because they bring permanent death to the unrepentant sinner.

Unrepented sin is death eternal, and we need to sorrow over our sins and to depart from them in sincere repentance.

To mourn, is a deep, sincere, sorrowing over our sins, and a reaching out with all our hearts to embrace God and his Word.

The second aspect of the word “mourn” is to have our eyes wide open and to discern the evils within our society and within the Ekklesia, so that we can then sincerely repent and turn to God; and if the group as a whole will not repent, we can still do so individually and are still to be aware of and to communicate our concerns to God and to others.

When our leaders and elders teach that the law refers only to the ten, and that the other commandments are unimportant; when they teach that God is love and will turn a blind eye to our sins, because he knows that we are weak; when we are taught the lie that God’s love means that he will tolerate sin, and that we should do likewise, claiming that it is love to watch our brothers sin and not warn them, we must not follow them.

We should know that these men are the false teachers Jude warned us of, who have come in to test us and to lead us astray from our zeal to learn and to keep the whole Word of God.

There are some who claim that they are expressing love to close their eyes and to tolerate and overlook wickedness. That is NOT godly love at all. True godly love is to warn the sinner, in the hope that he might repent.

Indeed we each have a responsibility to be concerned enough to discern between good and evil, and to hate the evil which brings people to their destruction, and to mourn, and sorrow over the evils amongst us.

God marks out those who are full of sorrow over all the evils that lead people to their own destruction; God marks and singles out those who love God enough to be sorrowful at any departure from his Word; and those who love others enough to care that they are rushing to their own destruction by turning aside from zeal for God to have a zeal for men.

Ezekiel 9:4 And the Lord said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof.

And those who have their eyes closed to the evil and do not care about the evil in their midst, who do not mourn and cry and sigh over the evils; God will pronounce sentence:

Ezekiel 9:5 And to the others he said in mine hearing, Go ye after him through the city, and smite: let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity:

9:6 Slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at my sanctuary. Then they began at the ancient men which were before the house.

9:7 And he said unto them, Defile the house, and fill the courts with the slain: go ye forth. And they went forth, and slew in the city.

Those who see the evils of the day and mourn over them shall be comforted by the gift of salvation and eternal life, and by the ultimate victory of God over all wickedness and evil!

Those who turn from a zeal to learn and to keep the whole Word of God, will face strong correction and if not repentant, they will be spiritually destroyed in eternal death.

While all those who loath and repent of any departure from the Word of God shall inherit eternal life!

Those in Mosaic Israel who loved God and sorrowed over the wickedness in the Ekklesia of that day were marked out as precious to God, and the same is true of this same attitude of loathing evil in spiritual Israel today.

Those who mourn, who sorrow over the evil in the Ekklesia and in the world; who love the brethren and the world, their neighbors, so much that they weep over the fact that they are rejecting the way to peace and life; are being noticed and marked out by God and will be resurrected to become kings and priests forever.

Malachi 3:16 Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another: and the Lord hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon his name.

3:17 And they shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.

3:18 Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not.

In the millennial kingdom of God, the world shall rejoice for their rulers will be righteous; because they have rejected all and any departure from the Word of God during the time of their testing; and have learned to hate, to loathe and to deeply regret and repent from any departure from the Word of the Eternal Living God!

Such people will judge the nations in righteousness, justly and honestly; while teaching all humanity the same way, to peace and eternal life!

Proverbs 29:2 When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.

Jesus Christ will not place those who compromise with his Word in authority over others in the kingdom of GOD!

Mourning is a figure of sincere repentance, of mourning over past sins; therefore we repent with fastings, and in ancient times this was accompanied by sackcloth.

Let us always have a continual repentant and teachable attitude, morning and sorrowing over any departure from the Word of God! And if we do that, we shall surely be saved and be comforted; receiving the good promises of God!

Nearly all religious organizations are zealous for their leaders, organizations, elders and traditions; and have departed from any zeal for the Word of God.  It is time for mourning over sin by each person and by the organizations as a whole.

Joel 2:12 Therefore also now, saith the Lord, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning:

2:13 And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil.

2:14 Who knoweth if he will return and repent, and leave a blessing behind him; even a meat offering and a drink offering unto the Lord your God?

2:15 Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly:

2:16 Gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children, and those that suck the breasts: let the bridegroom go forth of his chamber, and the bride out of her closet.

2:17 Let the priests, the ministers [leaders and elders] of the Lord, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare thy people, O Lord, and give not thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them: wherefore should they say among the people, Where is their God?

2:18 Then will the Lord be jealous for his land, and pity his people.

James Malm

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Blessed Are Those Who Mourn: For They Shall Be Comforted ~            A Look at Psalm 51

 

Psalm 51 is David’s prayer about repentance and seeking God’s mercy after he was confronted by Nathan the prophet for his sin with Bathsheba and the treacherous murder of her husband, Uriah.

David was, in effect, in mourning over the fact that he had killed an innocent man to cover up his adulterous affair with the man’s wife; he had come to see his sin for what it was, but it was also revealed to him that his sins sprang from his heart and that it was his heart that was in need of being washed cleaned and made new.

This psalm provides us with deep insights into what David was thinking and how he agonized over what he had done. He acknowledges his sin before God, and in his confession he has come to see that sin is a actually a heart issue. Deceitfulness and sin begin in, and flow from, a deceitful and sinful heart.

What does this psalm have to do with the second Beatitude as written in Matthew 5:4 “Blessed are they that mourn; for they shall be comforted”?

To be blessed, because one mourns, may seem contradictory on the surface in this Beatitude for we tend to think of blessedness as a result of the good things that bring happiness, joy, contentment, all positive emotions; but this Beatitude shows us that to be in pain from mourning and grieving can also be a blessing. 

In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus is teaching His disciples that the one who mourns and is sorrowful over his sins is blessed. When we are in mourning over our sins and the things we see in our hearts, it is this type of sorrow that is a godly sorrow for it produces “repentance to salvation, not to be regretted”. David expressed this kind of godly sorrow in his psalm of repentance, not the sorrow of the world which produces death.

The apostle Paul spoke of this kind of sorrow in his letter to the Corinthians when the brethren repented of tolerating in their assembly a man who was openly sinning.

2nd Corinthians 7:9 Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing. 7:10 For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death. 7:11 For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.

There are three types of sorrow or mourning depicted in the Bible:  

(1) All human beings sorrow and mourn as the result of natural grief that comes from the loss of loved ones, or as a result of tragedy, trials, and tribulation. 

 1st Samuel 30:1 And it came to pass, when David and his men were come to Ziklag on the third day, that the Amalekites had invaded the south, and Ziklag, and smitten Ziklag, and burned it with fire; 30:2 And had taken the women captives, that were therein: they slew not any, either great or small, but carried them away, and went on their way. 30:3 So David and his men came to the city, and, behold, it was burned with fire; and their wives, and their sons, and their daughters, were taken captives. 30:4 Then David and the people that were with him lifted up their voice and wept, until they had no more power to weep. 

(2) Then there is the type of sorrow that is a kind of hopelessness; excessive and bitter sorrow when the person refuses to acknowledge accountability for his troubles; nor is he willing to repent or seek to be comforted. Judas is an example of one who had remorse over what he had done in betraying Jesus but his remorse led him to commit even more sin by committing suicide.  

Matthew 27:3 Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, 27:4 Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? see thou to that. 27:5 And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself.

(3) Godly sorrow is when a person comes to see their sins for what they are, and sincerely wants to turn from them with all of his heart and to become right with God.  This person is repentant and he mourns over what he has done; he is sorrowful over his breaking of God’s commandments and he is thoroughly grieved by his sins, deeply regretting them, being distressed by them and he is now disgusted by his sinful conduct.  Very few people in the world come under the definition of this type of mourning as exemplified by David’s example in Psalm 51.

Godly sorrow is also felt by those who see the evils of the day and mourn over them, for it grieves them deeply knowing that sin brings all the destruction, pain and death that is in the world. To mourn in a Godly way, makes one yearn for God’s kingdom to come, and that person is very much moved to pray that God would bring justice and righteousness to the earth.  

We all know that to mourn does not feel good or joyful; sorrow and grief can be very painful when we see our sins. It often feels like we have been hit in the stomach; it makes us lose our appetites and takes away the ability to sleep (or can make us want to sleep too much). 

But blessing is the result of mourning if it results in the purging of our sins and because of the cleansing that it produces. We are then blessed as the Beatitude describes, and the second half of the Beatitude, (the promise) says that if one will allow himself to go through this cleansing process, he will be comforted.

The mourning that David expressed in Psalm 51 was this third kind of sorrow and it led him to deep agony of spirit for what he had done, and also for the kind of person he had allowed himself to become. 

As we saw last week, David came to see how wicked he had been in his adultery with Bathsheba and the murder of her husband. He became of a contrite heart and his spirit was totally broken for what he had done.  

Psalm 51 is his prayer to God for forgiveness, cleansing, and to be restored to the close relationship with God that he had with Him before he sinned. David calls that condition of being restored: “The joy of thy salvation”. To have this kind of joy brings much comfort when we come to know that we have been forgiven and accepted by God.

Repentance begins when we come to see ourselves for what we are: that we are sinners in need of a Savior and that we are truly poor in spirit with nothing to offer God. It is to humbly bow our hearts to God, acknowledging our total spiritual poverty before Him and our utter dependence upon Him. It is the opposite of being haughty and self-sufficient and it is not something we can produce on our own, rather, it is a work of the Holy Spirit and Psalm 51 teaches us about all of these things.

David exemplifies for us this poverty of spirit and what it means to mourn over sin. He prayed for God’s mercy and for his heart to be cleansed and that God would bring him back into a close relationship of being in a right standing with God.  This kind of mourning is the mourning that Jesus is referring to when He said “blessed are those who mourn”.  

Paul descibed the passion and the zealousness that was involved when the people in Corinth mourn for what they had done and how that sorrow gave way to genuine repentance.

2nd Corinthians 7:11 For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge!… 

The first Beatitude is to be poor in spirit which means to humbly see ourselves for who we are and that we are sinners in need of God’s forgiveness. This Beatitude leads right into the next one that states that we are blessed if we mourn for the sin that is in us and not only for the sin but for our sinful condition that is of the heart.

We are blessed if we mourn over sins committed, but we must also mourn for the sinful attitudes which God reveals to us that are still embedded deep within our hearts. This new awareness then makes us long for our whole heart to be made clean.  

If we have these be-attitudes, God promises that we will be comforted;  we are comforted by being restored to a close relationship with Him again; and we are also comforted by the assurance that we have been forgiven and that God has accepted us back into the path that leads to eternal life.  Unrepentant sin separates us from God, but genuine, sincere repentance (with the commitment to go and sin no more) draws us near to Him. 

James 4:8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. 4:9 Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. 4:10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.

That is why we can say that David was “blessed” because he had a contrite heart and his subsequent mourning over his transgressions eventually led to a positive outcome: forgiveness, cleansing, restoration, and a renewal of the joy that he had of knowing God; all of which are tremendous blessings!

God’s children are blessed when they experience this godly type of mourning which leads to confession and repentance over the sins that have caused them to be separated from the Lord.

Isaiah 59:1 Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: 59:2 But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear. 59:3 For your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies, your tongue hath muttered perverseness.

Let us examine what it means to have the kind of godly sorrow that David exemplified; and the positive results that came from his sorrow. Later, David was able to teach God’s people the meaning of what it means to be blessed as a result of becoming poor in spirit and then to mourn over sin.  Psalm 51 is David’s prayer to God for mercy and for a renewed heart. There is much we can learn from David’s example; he turned away from his sins, was forgiven, washed clean, and went on to have close fellowship with his Lord.

* Psalm 51:1 Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. 51:2 Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.

In the first two verses David asks for God’s gift of mercy and forgiveness to be applied to his sins. Our sins are washed away by the sacrifice of Jesus, the Lamb of God (who was crucified and died as the atonement for the sins of the world), when we confess our sins and then commit in our hearts to go and sin no more.

This benefit of the application of the sacrifice of Christ is available to all those who are called now and who go to Him and confess, not making excuses for why they sin, but willing to acknowledge that God’s laws are right and good and then make a commitment to keep every Word of God for the rest of their lives.

All mankind at some point in the Plan of God will have this opportunity as God calls each person in his or her own order and in God’s perfect timing for that person.  For all those who repent and turn from their sins, they, too, will have Christ’s sacrifice applied just as God did for David.

When David prayed: “According to thy lovingkindness” it was a reminder of the promise that God made to His people Israel; that if they would humble themselves and confess their iniquities to God and repent, then He would remember His covenant that He made with the Patriarchs as promised in Leviticus and would accept them back as His set-apart people.

Leviticus 26:40 If they shall confess their iniquity, and the iniquity of their fathers, with their trespass which they trespassed against me, and that also they have walked contrary unto me; 26:41 And that I also have walked contrary unto them, and have brought them into the land of their enemies; if then their uncircumcised hearts be humbled, and they then accept of the punishment of their iniquity: 26:42 Then will I remember my covenant with Jacob, and also my covenant with Isaac, and also my covenant with Abraham will I remember; and I will remember the land. 26:43 The land also shall be left of them, and shall enjoy her sabbaths, while she lieth desolate without them: and they shall accept of the punishment of their iniquity: because, even because they despised my judgments, and because their soul abhorred my statutes. 26:44 And yet for all that, when they be in the land of their enemies, I will not cast them away, neither will I abhor them, to destroy them utterly, and to break my covenant with them: for I am the Lord their God.

* Psalm 51:3 For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.

David states that he recognizes that what he had done was evil. He could not get rid of the agony for what he had done for it was constantly on his mind until he went to God in heartfelt repentance and dealt with it in sincere prayer and entreaty.

* Psalm 51:4 Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.

The sins that David committed were against Bathsheba and Uriah, but even as horrific as they were, they were not as serious as his offenses against the Lord, his very Creator.

When we break God’s laws, we in effect, show that we do not really care about God or about our relationship with Him that we should have as a child of God. 

When we sin, we are rejecting the ways of God which lead to life and blessings, and we are showing that we think lightly of our calling and the opportunity to live with God throughout all eternity.

Romans 6:20 For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. 6:21 What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death. 6:22 But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.  6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (For more on this subject, please see the whole chapter of Romans 6)

* Psalm 51:5 Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.

David is saying that from birth (just like all mankind) he took on human nature which filled him with the propensity toward sin. All humans are naturally inclined to follow in the ways of Satan right from birth for we are all subjected to, and influenced by the principalities and rulers of this present evil world.

Ephesians 6:2 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

* Psalm 51:6 Behold, thou desires truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.

In this verse, David is referring to the very innermost recesses of a person’s heart and mind that is only visible to God. God wants us to diligently search even in those places to see what it is that makes us do the things that we do; to examine our motives and to repent of even our thoughts and attitudes that are sinful, lustful, deceitful; everything that is contrary to the thoughts and ways of God.

We can be keeping all of God’s laws in a physical sense, but if it is not accompanied with wholehearted agreement with the spiritual intent of God’s laws, we are not really in harmony with God’s righteousness nor are we in total agreement with Him. That is why it is so important to meditate daily on God’s laws and weave them into the inner most part of our being and to seek to dislodge any denial that we have about ourselves and our own righteousness.

Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. 4:13 Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.

David speaks of this concept in Psalm 19 when he talks of secret faults and the need to search them out and repent of them as well.

Psalm 19:12 Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults. 19:13 Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression. 19:14 Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.

* Psalm 51:7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

Hyssop is a plant with a long wooden stem that was used as a type of brush in ancient times for cleansing, and it was also used in certain kinds of ceremonies by dipping the end into a substance such as blood or wine and then applying the liquid accordingly.  

Hyssop is first mentioned in Exodus 12:22 in connection with the institution of the Passover. In that situation the Hyssop plant was used to dip in the basin of the blood of the Passover lamb to apply to the lintel and doorpost before the Israelites left Egypt. (Exodus 12:22). It was also used in the purification ceremonies for lepers who were brought before the priest (Leviticus 14:1-8).  So we see that hyssop is very much associated with “cleansing”.

David is asking for deep heart cleansing and uses hyssop to symbolize the kind of purification washing that was done by a common cleansing tool of his day. By longing for this type of spiritual cleansing, he understands and indicates in his psalm that it is only by being washed by his Savior’s atoning blood that he can be cleansed of all his iniquities; and that only by this spiritual cleansing, could he be washed clean of all of his sins and then look forward to living in God’s presence during the rest of his lifetime, but also for all eternity.

David has an intense desire for all of his sin (and even any residue stain that it might have left) to be washed completely out of his heart so that he could be found white again.

To be whiter than snow, was David’s way of depicting a washing that could only be done by Christ and His sacrifice; he understood that only the cleansing power of God could make him clean and pure; it is only by the sacrificial blood of Christ that we can be made clean and pure without any taint of sin. It is Christ’s atoning sacrifice alone that pays the penalty for our sins and His washing makes us “whiter than snow”.

* Psalm 51:8 Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice.

David compares the pain of feeling guilty for his sins to the deep searing pain that a person feels when a bone is broken. Like a broken bone that has been healed, he desires to feel whole again and to be able to rejoice at being made right with God. He is asking for the pain in his heart to be replaced with joy and gladness that being washed clean of sin brings.

* Psalm 51:9 Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities.

David repeats his desire for God to show him mercy for his sins and to cast them all away. We have a very compassionate High Priest and we are told in Hebrews 4 and in Micah 7 about God’s abundant mercy when we come to Him in repentance.

Hebrews 4:14 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.  4:15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

Micah 7:18 Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy. 7:19 He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea

* Psalm 51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.

David is asking God to clean up his heart; that it would be renewed and transformed with a right kind of spirit.

To create a clean heart, is part of the spiritual creation process and is part of what God does to make us into His image, just as God tells us that He is going to do for all Israel some day. He is going to put His laws and commandments in their inward parts; writing them in the deepest recesses of their hearts just as He is doing now with those He has called out to be His firstfruits, those who have chosen to be faithful and obedient to Him and His Word.

Jeremiah 31:33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. 31:34 And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.

* Psalm 51:11 Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.

David knows that before he repented, he was in danger of being cast away because of his sins (perhaps as he had witnessed to what happened to Saul) and is pleading with God to have mercy, and to allow him to keep the Holy Spirit and not let it depart from him.

* Psalm 51:12 Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.

We, as the children of God, have the tremendous joy of knowing that if we are seeking God, obeying Him, and are in a close relationship with Him; if we have the indwelling of God’s Holy Spirit and if we remain faithful to the end, we will be resurrected in the resurrection to spirit. This gives us a tremendous inner joy and peace that unbelievers do not have: to know that we can have eternal life with God the Father and His Son in their kingdom if we forsake the ways of this world and overcome our sinful natures.

What inexpressible joy this gives to us as followers of Christ; and when we willfully sin, we forfeit that joy and deprive ourselves of it. To be in a sinning state is bondage to Satan and makes us feel like we are in chains; when we are forgiven, it releases us from that bondage and frees us; we feel a type of refreshing and liberty just as Paul tells us in his epistle to the Corinthians: 

2nd Corinthians 3:17 Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.

* Psalm 51:13 Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.

Since David had learned painful lessons through this experience, he could therefore teach others the right way of mourning over sin and seeking repentance; he wanted others to come to the joy of salvation as he had done. If sinners follow his example, then they, too, will be forgiven and have the opportunity to be restored in their relationship to their heavenly Father just as he had been.

Similarly, Jesus knew that Peter was going to be tested by Satan and He told Peter that after he had failed, been forgiven and had learned his lesson; that he must then strengthen and encourage his brethren. 

Luke 22:31 And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: 22:32 But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren. 

After Peter denied Christ; Peter, just like David, mourn bitterly over what he had done; he then repented, was forgiven, committed that he would never deny Christ again; Christ then restored him as His disciple and apostle once again.  

By going through this painful experience, Peter could then have empathy on his fellow brethren and could be used to teach them to have hope in Christ’s atoning sacrifice when they stumbled and failed and would need forgiveness. Later, Peter was able from his heart to write in his epistle:

1st Peter 1:17 And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear: 1:18 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; 1:19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: 1:20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, 1:21 Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.

Hebrews 5:1-2 states in speaking about those who are training to be priests under Christ:

Hebrews 5:1 For every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins: 5:2 Who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way; for that he himself also is compassed with infirmity.

* Psalm 51:14 Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation: and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness. 51:15 O Lord, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise.

David says that he will offer up praises to God for all that He has done for him. David was like the sinful woman in the New Testament who came to the Pharisee’s house to find Jesus and to express her love to Him. She came to Him weeping and then washed His feet with her tears; she was forgiven much for her many sins, and therefore, could return much love because of her gratitude.

Whereas the Pharisee (Simon) who thought he did not have that much to repent of, did not mourn for his sins and did not show love toward Jesus. This woman, who had been a sinner, like David, exemplifies for us what it means to be humble, to have poverty of spirit and then to mourn for what she had been, then seeking God’s mercy and to be accepted by Him as one of His own precious children.

Luke 7:36 And one of the Pharisees desired him that he would eat with him. And he went into the Pharisee’s house, and sat down to meat. 7:37 And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster box of ointment, 7:38 And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment. 7:39 Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it, he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him: for she is a sinner. 7:40 And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith, Master, say on. 7:41 There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. 7:42 And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most? 7:43 Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged.

In his ordeal with Bathsheba, David, too (just like this woman who had been a sinner) became acutely aware of his great need for forgiveness; and after he was given such a tremendous amount of mercy, he felt much gratitude toward God and therefore felt a huge indebtedness to His Lord for His lovingkindnesses. He wanted to praise him with his words and songs; and with his life for the rest of his days and to help others to be able to give God praise as well.

* Psalm 51:16 For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering51:17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.

David is saying that God’s delight is not in a sacrificed animal, but that His real delight is when His children sincerely repent and turn back to Him. That is the sacrifice that He is looking for.

The Lord did require sacrifice according to his sacrificial laws at that time, even from David, but His true pleasure is in the person who seeks to be forgiven and wants to obey Him from the heart and commits to go and sin no more. 

God wants a contrite and broken heart to accompany the sacrifices that are offered to Him, not just the action of sacrificing without a broken spirit; and God desires that we have an obedient heart that desires to obey Him from then on with all of our being.

* Psalm 51:18 Do good in thy good pleasure unto Zion: build thou the walls of Jerusalem. 51:19 Then shalt thou be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness, with burnt offering and whole burnt offering: then shall they offer bullocks upon thine altar.

Then David remembers his people and asks that God would extend his mercy and goodness to His people and to Zion as well, and to fulfill His Plan for them on a national level.

David prays that when the whole community strays from God, that they would collectively sorrow over their sinfulness, to mourn over all their sins and offer up sacrifice to God as well. If they will do that, then he knows that God will hear from heaven, forgive them of all their sins, and impart on them the righteousness and favor that he, David, received from God.

If any person, or any nation will take the steps to first recognize and acknowledge their sins, then to mourn for them and to repent of all of their wickedness; resolve to turn from their evil and the breaking of all of God’s commandments and “go and sin no more”; God has promised that He will have mercy on them.

This would be like asking for God’s mercy and intervention on the Ekklesia and/or our nation and that God would help His people to do as David had done and become righteous from mourning over their personal and national sins and then repenting of them. 

Then God would be pleased when the sacrifices and the confessions of a humbled and contrite people coming from individual hearts, or even from the heart of a nation, that is seeking to obey Him and truly wants to put Him first above all else. 

We know that this is not happening now, in our times, but this is looking forward to a time when all nations will want to repent and turn back to the God of Creation after they have been humbled and when God opens their eyes to see their rebellion and the misery and damage that their rebellion has caused.

Could it be that the the most damaging of all sins, is to not be aware of our sins and to not mourn over them as we see in all the Western nations in our time and even within the spiritual Israel of God (the Ekklesia)? The apostle John says that this Laodician attitude will predominate in the end times amongst the called of God.

Revelation 3:17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: 3:18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. 3:19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. 3:21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. 3:22 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

In Conclusion

It is not wrong to be joyful and in being merry such as when we are keeping the Feasts with godly gladness and laughter, and there is a rightful time for feasting; but there is a time and place for godly sorrow as Solomon expresses in the following passage:

Ecclesiastes 7:2 It is better to go to the house of mourning, than to go to the house of feasting: for that is the end of all men; and the living will lay it to his heart. 7:3 Sorrow is better than laughter: for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better. 7:4 The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning; but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.

This passage in Ecclesiastes demonstrates the principle: that it is through sorrow, not mirth and gladness, that has the inherent power to make a person see the need for him or her to contemplate the way they have been living; and then if they see need, to initiate changes. This contemplation can then progress to sincere repentance which will lead to godliness. It is better to be in grief and in sorrow rather than to be joyful, if it leads to seeing our need to live more zealously according to all the ways of God, which will ultimately lead us to inherit eternal life at the resurrection to spirit.

David exhibited the kind of agony of heart that is so painful that it becomes unbearable, and he was willing to do anything to relieve the pain. God gives us a way out of the pain and agony through repentance, confession and applying Christ’s sacrifice to atone for the sin that is causing us to feel guilty for our sins which in turn causes agony of heart. 

God uses godly sorrow as a powerful tool to encourage His children to resolve to do whatever it takes to get right with Him, and to then go forth and never do the sins which separated them from God, ever again.

The second Beatitude shows us that it takes this kind of sorrow over our sins, this awful feeling of distress and unease taking hold in our hearts as a result of breaking God’s commandments to lead us to sincere repentance and a turning away from all of our sins and to submit to the will of God and to all of His ways.

In most cases, in order for genuine repentance to take place, there must be a deep sorrow (mourning) over the sins we have committed and also for the sin we see deep within our being. We must sorrow and repent for even the inclination in our hearts to do evil. When we mourn over these things, it is this kind of sorrow that will result in having a deep desire for deliverance from the kind of sinful people we see ourselves as.

There are many in this world who will admit they are sinners, but who have never really mourned over that fact. This is a very serous matter when we come to see that it is sin that is responsible for all the destruction, hatred, war, disease and death in this world, and has caused the death of our Lord and Savior to compensate for those sins.

1st John 2:2 And he is the  propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

The lesson we can learn from Psalm 51, which is a psalm of repentance, is that David’s sorrowful attitude not only resulted in forgiveness, but also played a major role in producing gratitude and a most loving devotion for God within him, even deeper than it had ever been before.

After this episode and then of being forgiven, David could go on to teach the nation of Israel to repent of their sins and to be dedicated in worship and obedience to all the ways of God. We, too, benefit from David’s many writings showing us what it means to be a man after God’s own heart and to seek after God more than anything else.

Even though David suffered greatly in the things that happened as a result of his sin with Bathsheba, he went on to become a godly and righteous king over Israel; and he will be king under Christ over the whole nation of Israel in God’s Kingdom.

Jeremiah 30:9 But they shall serve the Lord their God, and David their king, whom I will raise up unto them. (See also Ezekiel 34:23-24)

The more clearly we can rightly see ourselves for what we are and mourn over the things that are not right, the closer to God’s heart we become. It is when we think that we are righteous and have no need for mourning or repentance that we become UNTEACHABLE. We close the door to God being able to work with us and to shape us to be the kind of godly and compassionate teachers that the world will need when Christ returns and sets up His Kingdom.

For those who learn this lesson as David did, they will be the ones most equipped to teach the remnant of Israel and the nations of the world about God’s ways after the tribulation.

The remnant people who are freed from their captors and return to Israel; and then begin a new life in God’s coming Kingdom, will need to first mourn over their lifelong rebellion against God and His commandments, and then seek Him for His forgiveness.

They will need to be given a new heart with God’s laws engraved in them, just as David asked God to wash his heart completely clean and to renew a right spirit within him. We know from the other accounts in the Bible that God did this for David and he went on to never commit those same sins again. God promises that He will do this for all that call upon Him with contrite hearts and who seek His forgiveness for their deceitful hearts and who turn from their wickedness. 

Those who have been called to be part of the body of Christ at this time and have learned these lessons will be the ones who will rise up in the resurrection of the firstfruits along with King David. It is this group that will then be inducted to be on God’s team; helping to teach and to reconcile mankind to God during the time when He is going to clean up this earth from all the effects of sin and restore it to the beauty and righteousness that is prophesied to come throughout His Word.

Jeremiah 3:15 And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding.

Then, as we all look back at the past history of all of humanity, may it truly be said:

“Blessed are those who mourned; repented and found comfort in God’s merciful lovingkindness!”

Constance

 

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For They Shall be Comforted ….The God of All Comfort

The Bible contains important messages of how our Father and His Son truly do love us and how they will shower comfort on us when we repent and return to them with all our hearts. There is so much in God’s Word about their love and how they bestow that love upon us; and when we as God’s children come to realize the tremendous love that God the Father and His Son Jesus have for us, it fills us with awe, with peace and joy, and we can find comfort in their love no matter what we may be going through. 

This is an open letter to all of God’s children who may be reading this at this time; to all those of the called out to be God’s people who have repented and returned to keeping all of God’s commandments after realizing that they have been wrong on certain issues for years (for many of us, most of our lives). Many of us in the Ekklesia have for decades followed the dictates of men and their false religions/traditions rather than  following God’s true doctrines as written Scripture.

Some of you may still be sitting on the fence; you have been hurt and wounded by various religious groups or organizations and by those who call themselves church leaders and shepherds; and when you came to realize that they have misled you and have been teaching you the traditions of men, rather than the truth of God’s Word, you are now very confused. You really don’t know who to trust anymore or where to go.

Those who have strayed and are now coming back to God the Father, may find it very hard to know that God still loves them and has not forsaken them, and will continue to work with them if they sincerely have repented of their past mistakes and want to serve and obey Him in truth; just as God did with King David after his great sin with Bathsheba and in murdering her husband. David turned wholeheartedly back to God with a contrite heart and in genuine repentance; and God forgave him and accepted him back as a dear beloved child who had learned his lesson.

At the end of this article is a special message from God the Father; it is a list of Scriptures taken straight from the Bible; Scriptures which tell us plainly what our Father thinks of those whom He has called and who have willingly answered that call by entering into a covenant relationship with Him; those who want to trust and faithfully obey Him with all of their hearts; they are the ones He calls His children.

Matthew 5:4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

In this study, we are going to look at the second half of this Beatitude about mourning and delve into what is meant by the promise for those who mourn, “for they shall be comforted“.

In this Beatitude we are given the promise that if we mourn because of our sins and come to see them as they are, and then sincerely repent of those sins, we will be given comfort by God.  But not only for our own sins; but if we mourn because of the sins of others and what is it doing in our families, our communities, the nation, and the whole world, we can be comforted by believing and knowing God’s magnificent plan for the future salvation of all of humanity. 

What does that comfort look like when God the Father comforts us as an individual, as one of His dearly beloved son or daughter who has come face to face with sins in his or her life? Or perhaps even if that child has committed the worst sin of all; one who has strayed and has departed from the Word of God altogether, but comes to himself or herself at some point, who wants to be forgiven and yearns to renew their faith in God again and to return to the keeping of all of God’s commandments. Is it still possible to live by God’s every Word with all his of her heart; and to live in His presence once more and into all eternity?

This very scenario is best illustrated in the parable that we know as the “Prodigal Son” in Luke 15.

Here is the story paraphrased in my own words as I envision the scenario playing out in my mind’s eye. The story begins with the younger son; a rash young man who goes to his father and demands that his father give him his portion of his future inheritance right then in the form of money (and the father grants his request just as our Father in heaven allows us to go our own way and do what we want to do when we insist on doing so).

The son goes off on his own, to a far country (perhaps to a foreign country with pagan gods and false religions) and things do not go too well for him. He wastes all of the money that his father gave to him, spending it on his newly-sought extravagant/riotous lifestyle. The money is gone, a famine comes upon the land, and the son becomes so impoverished that he ends up working at a pig farm, the most debasing and disgusting job imaginable for an Israelite. The son becomes so hungry that he would have been grateful to be given some of the husks that the pigs ate. But no man gave even of these to him. 

In his desperation, he comes to himself; realizing how despicable he has acted and that his situation is nothing more than what he deserved. His troubles are the consequences reaped from his own stupidity in pursuing his lust to squander what his father had provided for him as a member of his father’s household.  Oh, how he must have sorrowed and grieved over what he had done; regretting from the depths of his being for what he had done to his father.

He probably thought “what a mess I have made of my life, just because I did not want to be under my father’s loving authority and obey his rules. It was me, I did it to myself! and I am the only one to blame. I am here in this place, in this desperate situation because I sinned against heaven and earth”.

There was no way he could go back and undo the decisions he had made or the things he had done. By his actions, he had forfeited all his rights and privileges of a son living under his father’s protective care. And now, all he could do was to humble himself and to beseech his father’s mercy. 

He begins to think about what he should say if he goes back home. He thinks “I’m not even deserving to be considered a son anymore but if only my father would hire me as one of his servants, at least I could earn enough bread to eat so as to keep from starving. I am so ashamed for what I did to him! What if he rejects me and turns me away and never whats to see me again? (What if I have committed the unpardonable sin?) I will just have to take that chance, I have no other choice.”

Then the words start to come to him and he rehearses just what he will say. He thinks to himself, “I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.’ “ (Luke 15:18-19)

So he starts off on his journey back to his homeland and as he finally gets closer and closer to his father’s estate, he suddenly sees this large man in the far off distance and this man is running toward him with outstretched arms. The son feels his heart pounding faster and faster and wonders who could this be? 

As he gets closer and the two approach each other, the son suddenly recognizes the familiar physical features of his dad. He cannot believe what is happening, as the father comes to him with his arms extended to him and with compassion written all over his face. 

His father grabs him and embraces him, falling on his neck with tears streaming down his face, kissing him; the words that the son had so carefully rehearsed come forth from his mouth and the son says unto him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.” (Luke 15:21) 

But the father waves to his servants, and says “Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry”. (Luke 15:23-24)

Unbeknownst to the son, the father had been waiting for him all this time; every day looking off into the distance to see if he could see some small dot becoming the form of a man’s figure, possibly his son returning home. Day after day there was no sign, and then one day it finally happened; the man’s son returned home!

The son that had abandoned him and appeared to be gone, lost forever, was alive again, and his father instantly forgave him and then lavished him with compassion; and then comforted him with his acceptance of him!

Because the father loved his young son and wanted with all his heart for him to be restored and back into his presence, he was overjoyed that the son had come back to him, even though the son had broken his heart by sinning against him.

For the son, I imagine that he probably did not really care that much about the best robe, new shoes, a ring, a fatted calf; the most important thing was that he had been accepted back as his father’s son again! and he could have a restored relationship with his father and could again call him, “my dad”, [Abba, Father!].

After all his sorrow and grieving (mourning), sincerely repenting for what he had done, the prodigal son was comforted. Just as our Heavenly Father comforts us when we mourn over our sins and our betrayal of Him and then repent, setting our hearts to never abandon Him again and return to His loving embrace.  We can only imagine what this son must have been feeling the night that he returned home. Here are the lyrics of a beautiful song that reflect what the son may have been thinking:

Many will sincerely repent and say to the Father:

“I am still amazed when I think about the day that I returned. 

Blinded by my own addictions and grief,

I began my journey expecting rejection, but secretly, secretly hoping for mercy

And while I was still a ways off rehearsing my lines, you saw me 

And you ran to me… you ran to ME! And I began to speak and I said

“Father… I’ve been unfaithful and I am no longer worthy to be called Your son.”

The Father says:

“Welcome home son, I’ve been waiting for you! I AM FAITHFUL!

And I will always be your faithful Father”

(Quote from the song: Faithful Father by Brian Doerksen)

Our Heavenly Father will accept those who come to Him in sincere repentance and who then commit “to go and sin no more”.

Those of us who have been called out to God and have responded to that call by becoming His followers are the children of our Heavenly Father and He loves us more than any earthly father could ever love his child. 

When we sin, it breaks His heart but He does not just quickly throw us away. He will orchestrate events that will discipline us (Hebrews 12:5-13) and get our attention; and when we are finally broken and humbled, He tells us in His Word through the psalmist David…..”a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.” (Psalm 51:17)

The Prodigal Son’s father did not just forgive his son when he genuinely came back home to him, but the father also showered him with affirmation by showing him his love, giving him affection, caring for his needs and giving him gifts. This illustration exemplifies what our Heavenly Father does for us by showering us with His love and affection when we seek to please and obey Him with all our hearts.

After being accepted of God the Father and if, we, as God’s children, are walking in the light of God’s Word, seeking to please Him by keeping His whole Word; we will have the joy of being in His presence and can have the Spirit of His consolation and peace of mind if we are staying close to Him, no matter what trials we may be facing.

How Does The Father Comfort Us?

Jesus Christ, who is the expressed image of His Father (Hebrews 1:3), is the “Consolation of Israel” that Simeon spoke of at the Temple the day that the infant Jesus was presented to God the Father by Joseph and Mary.

Luke 2:25 And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him. 2:26 And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.

It was God the Father’s gift of His Son that would demonstrate the love of the Heavenly Father more than anything else, and would bring us comfort by the fact that we can be forgiven for our sins by Christ’s sacrifice that atones for our sins when we repent and resolve to sin no more. God then gives us the gift of His Holy Spirit that comes along side us to help us in keeping His laws and to walk in all His ways.

Besides the spiritual consolations, and spiritual gifts, God the Father lavishes us with many other wonderful physical gifts that bring comfort to our hearts as well. 

He gives us life and a body to live in; He gives food to eat, houses to live in, all of creation to enjoy and marvel over; the wonderful, delightful creatures that give us joy just watching them and their antics, and being able to care for them. He gives us our families; a loving spouse to have and to hold, the capacity to have children and to bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord and to love and enjoy them as they grow up and throughout all eternity if they, too, become spiritual children of God.

When we look up at a star studded sky with the moon at night, it is comforting to know that God created all of these and that He is so very brilliant and powerful to have made them; and He even has names for each of them and, yes, God also knows each of us by name and is very much involved in the details of our lives; fashioning and molding His human clay to be all that He designed us to be as future spiritual sons and daughters in His Family and living with Him in His kingdom forever.

James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

God tells us through Paul, that there is even another way that God shows comfort to His children.

As Paul suffered through his many trials and afflictions, God knew he would need to be comforted by those who would love him as a friend and brother.  One of his first comforters was Ananias whom God sent to encourage Paul and affirm him of God’s call on his life; to lay hands on Paul so as to be healed by God of his blindness and to be filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 9:10-18).

One of the first friends Paul made when he arrived at Jerusalem was Barnabas who would become his friend and fellow co-laborer in doing the work of God. Barnabas’s real name was Joses but he was renamed by the apostles as “Barnabas”, which means: the “son of consolation”. 

Barnabas fulfilled the meaning of his new name right at the beginning of his friendship with Paul, helping Paul by introducing him to the other apostles, explaining how Paul had seen the Lord, that he was a credible minister called to do the Lord’s work just as they had been called, and that they should accept him.

And this is what Paul, himself, had to say about the comfort of God and how we should comfort each other as, we, ourselves, have been comforted by God personally and/or by His people:

2nd Corinthians 1:2 Grace be to you and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. 1:3 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; 1:4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. 1:5 For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.

God wants us to comfort one another just as we have been comforted by Him; in our trials, tribulations, and our failings. We, in essence, become His instruments of comfort and love to the ones that God loves; those who are part of His body and members of His spiritual Temple, who are our brethren. 

Why do we need to acquire this character attribute? Because as sons and daughters we are being made in God’s image and we need to become more and more like Him as we internalize His mindset of love and care into our hearts and beings.

If God is LOVE and if we are being made into His spiritual image, then we must be about LOVE as well (1st John 3:2). As part of His team, we will need to love all peoples just as God loves them and we will need to comfort them just as God has comforted us throughout our lifetimes. This character trait is important as we are used in His work now, but will be especially important in the future work of the restoration of the earth when we will have to comfort and console the ones who have come through the most horrific time of tribulation and correction in the history of mankind.

Jesus is the very essence of comfort and consolation just as His Father. As His spiritual children who are in the process of being conformed to their image, they want us to offer consolation to other people as well. Just as we have freely received God’s love, forgiveness, and many other spiritual gifts, including His comfort; we should freely give of these things to others when we are able.

Matthew 8:10 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.

We are to rule as Christ would have us rule and not to rule as the carnal rulers and politicians rule, as many do at this time.

Luke 22:24 And he said unto them, 22:25 The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors. 22:26 But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve.

Here are some of Paul’s words of comfort offered to the people of Thessalonica. He had changed from the blasphemous, angry, murderous Saul; to Paul the beloved apostle, who devoted himself to His Lord and to the Lord’s people. He had grown to be a man of tremendous love and constant affection for  his brethren, and especially for those whom God had placed in his care. 

And by his letters he has been used down through the ages to teach and to admonish (which is a form of comfort) all who will listen, to turn to God the Father and to Jesus the Christ; and to keep all of their ways.

1st Thessalonians 2:7 But we were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children: 2:8 So being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us. 2:9 For ye remember, brethren, our labour and travail: for labouring night and day, because we would not be chargeable unto any of you, we preached unto you the gospel of God. 2:10 Ye are witnesses, and God also, how holily and justly and unblameably we behaved ourselves among you that believe: 2:11 As ye know how we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father doth his children, 12 That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory.

If we were to do a more thorough study on this subject and looked up the words “comfort”, “consolation”, “exhortation”, “encourage” we would be amazed at how many verses there are pertaining to the times the apostles and the brethren showed comfort, consolation and care to each other.

Back to the subject of the prodigal son.

We know that God has to call those He wants to work with at this time, they are His firstfruits (all others will be called later). I believe that there are many who have been called and were members of God’s Ekklesia, and for some reason have strayed. Yes, there are tares that come in and worship amongst us, but there are also many wounded true sheep that have strayed from zeal for the Word of God for one reason or another and are in need of returning to God.

There are many who have strayed and do not even know that they have strayed because they are in a religious organization and are following a man or men without looking into the Bible to see if what they say and teach is the truth. It is to these sheep that I am writing an appeal to repent and come to God the Father through Christ and to be reconciled to Him.

There may be some lost sheep out there that may think that it is too late for them or they are too ashamed to ask for forgiveness and for restoration. For the one that finds himself in that situation and he or she still wants to come back, who mourn for what they have done and sincerely repents of those things, then it’s not too late for them; and God the Father, through Jesus Christ, will welcome him or her back with open arms.

In the recent history of the Ekklesia, many of God’s true children were scattered and perhaps have become disillusioned with all that went on in the COG organizations and many are still scattered, seemingly lost from view, and if we are outside the will of our Father, we are the lost sheep.

Below is a list of Scriptures that assures us of God’s constant love and concern for those who are called to be His children. This list has a message to all who may be struggling, wondering where is God in all of the mixed up troubles of this world and even in His Ekklesia and does He really care about us, about me?

If we are those whom the Father has called out, and if we entered into a covenant relationship with Him, then we are to reciprocate His love; by seeking Him first, above all else, and striving with all of our hearts to keep all of His commandments and to follow Him whithersoever He goes. (John 14:21-26, Revelation 14:4).

This is a list of some of the many Scriptures from the King James Version of the Bible which reveals the love of our Heavenly Father from His Word about how He feels about us. The Scriptures show and teach us that our God is truly a loving Father and that He has lavished upon us so much more than what we could ever imagine in our limited human minds. 

Our Father corrects us when we go astray because He loves us and wants more than anything to deliver us from evil; and when we sincerely repent, he accepts us back into His loving, forgiving arms with great joy!

God the Father’s Love For His Faithful

The Lord knows those whom He has called out to be His sons:

* Psalm 139:1  O lord, thou hast searched me, and known me.

* John 6:37 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.

* John 6:44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.

He knows when we sit down and when we rise up:  

* Psalm 139:2 Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off.

He is familiar with all our ways:

* Psalm 139:3 Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways.

Even the very hairs on our head are all numbered:

* Matthew 10:29-31  Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.

The faithful live and move and have their being in God and His Word, for they are called out to become the sons of God:

* Acts 17:28 For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.

God is not distant, but is the complete expression of love, to all that sincerely repent and turn to follow Him:

* 1st John 3:1 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.

* John 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

* Romans 8:16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:

* 2nd Corinthians 6:17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. 6:18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.

It is God’s desire to lavish His love on His children:

* 1st John 4:16 And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.

For God is the perfect Father; therefore internalize His word that we may become perfect also:

* Matthew 5:48  Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

Every good gift that we receive comes from God the Father in Heaven:

* James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

God is our provider and meets all our needs:

* Matthew 6:30  Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?  6:31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?

God’s plan for our future has always been filled with hope:

* Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

God loves us with an everlasting love:

* Jeremiah 31:3 The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.

God’s thoughts toward the faithful and sincerely repentant, are countless as the sand on the seashore:

* Psalm 139:17 How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them! 139:18 If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand:when I awake, I am still with thee.

God rejoices over His children with singing:

* Zephaniah 3:17 The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.

For the faithful are God’s treasured possession:

* Exodus 19:5  Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine:

* Malachi 3:17 And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.

God’s desires to establish the faithful with all HIS heart and all HIS soul:

* Jeremiah 32:41 Yea, I will rejoice over them to do them good, and I will plant them in this land assuredly with my whole heart and with my whole soul.

And God will show great and marvelous things to those who follow and obey Him: 

* Jeremiah 33:3 Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.

If you seek God with all your heart, you will find Him:

* Deuteronomy 4:29 But if from thence thou shalt seek the Lord thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul.

Delight in God and He will give you the lawful desires of your heart:

* Psalm 37:4 Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.

God is able to do more for us than we could possibly imagine:

* Ephesians 3:20  Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,

God is our greatest encourager:  

* 2nd Thessalonians 2:16-17 Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, Comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work.

God the Father comforts the faithful in all their troubles:  

* 2nd Corinthians 1:3 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; 4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.

When you are brokenhearted and sincerely repentant, God will come to you:

* Psalm 34:18 The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.

As a shepherd carries a lamb, God keeps us close to His heart:

* Isaiah 40:11 He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.

One day God will wipe away every tear from His children’s eyes and will take away all the pain that we have suffered on this earth:

* Revelation 21:3  And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. 21:4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

God is our Father, and loves us as He loves His own Son, Jesus:

* John 17:23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.

For in Jesus, the Father’s love for us is revealed:

* John 17:26 And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.

The Son is the exact representation of His Father:

* Hebrews 1:3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high:

God is for all those who are for and follow Him:

*Romans 8:31 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?

God has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, not imputing our trespasses to us:

* 2nd Corinthians 5:18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; 5:19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.

Our loving Father removes our sins far from us when we are sincerely repentant:

* Psalm 103:10 He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. 103:11 For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. 103:12 As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us. 103:13 Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him. 103:14 For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust. 103:15 As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth. 103:16 For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more. 103:17 But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children’s children; 103:18 To such as keep his covenant, and to those that remember his commandments to do them.

The sacrifice of Christ was the ultimate expression of God the Father’s love for us:

* John 4:10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

God the Father gave up the Son He loved, because He also loved us:

* Romans 8:31  What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? 8:32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?

If we receive the gift of the Son, by turning away from sin to follow Him; we receive God the Father also:

* 1st John 2:23 Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also.

And nothing will ever separate us from God’s love and He will lovingly correct us if we continue in sin:

* Romans 8:38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 8:39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Come to God in sincere repentance to learn God’s law and to keep the Words of life, and He will rejoice over you.

* Luke 15:7 I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.

If we mourn over our sins and sincerely seek be ever closer to God, then He will comfort us and come ever closer to us:

2nd Corinthians 1:3  Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort… 

James 4:8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. 4:9 Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. 4:10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord,and he shall lift you up.

What a marvelous and loving God we have who is willing to accept us and comfort us when we come to Him with a repentant heart and seek to live according to all His will and be in His presence forever more.

“Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be COMFORTED”.

Constance

 

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