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Was Achsah’s request too bold?

You do not have, because you do not ask. (James 4:2b)

So if you who are evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him! (Luke 11:13)

The second scripture above from Luke is a story Jesus delivered just after teaching the disciples ‘The Lord’s Prayer’, in the section on how to pray.

We know of the more familiar examples of Bible people asking things boldly. David, Jeremiah Habakkuk, Job, Hannah…they all asked for things of the Lord and did so honestly, with raw intensity. There is no doubt that they were sincere believers who felt awe and reverence for God. They feared Him. Yet when it came time to pour out their heart in naked emotion or bold prayer requests, they did.

Here is a less well known example of someone in the Bible asking for something of her (earthly) father, boldly. Achsah. Here she is in scripture, Judges 1:12-15,

Toshiba Exif JPEG

EPrata photo

And Caleb said, “He who attacks Kiriath-sepher and captures it, I will give him Achsah my daughter for a wife.” 13And Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother, captured it. And he gave him Achsah his daughter for a wife. 14When she came to him, she urged him to ask her father for a field. And she dismounted from her donkey, and Caleb said to her, “What do you want?” 15She said to him, “Give me a blessing. Since you have set me in the land of the Negeb, give me also springs of water.” And Caleb gave her the upper springs and the lower springs.

Was Achsah too bold? Was she greedy? Was she rebellious in her asking when she should have remained meek and submissive? The Jamieson Fausset Commentary explains it this way

that is, when about to remove from her father’s to her husband’s house. She suddenly alighted from her travelling equipage—a mark of respect to her father, and a sign of making some request. She had urged Othniel to broach the matter, but he not wishing to do what appeared like evincing a grasping disposition, she resolved herself to speak out. Taking advantage of the parting scene when a parent’s heart was likely to be tender, she begged (as her marriage portion consisted of a field which, having a southern exposure, was comparatively an arid and barren waste) he would add the adjoining one, which abounded in excellent springs. The request being reasonable, it was granted; and the story conveys this important lesson in religion, that if earthly parents are ready to bestow on their children that which is good, much more will our heavenly Father give every necessary blessing to them who ask Him.

The last sentence of the commentary explanation harks back tot he verse from Luke above. And here is another short explanation of this small incident from Judges about Achsah, it is Matthew Henry from his Complete Commentary. The tenth commandment was “Do Not Covet.”

From this story we learn,

1. That it is no breach of the tenth commandment moderately to desire those comforts and conveniences of this life which we see attainable in a fair and regular way.

2. That husbands and wives should mutually advise, and jointly agree, about that which is for the common good of their family; and much more should they concur in asking of their heavenly Father the best blessings, those of the upper springs.

3. That parents must never think that lost which is bestowed upon their children for their real advantage, but must be free in giving them portions as well as maintenance, especially when they are dutiful. Caleb had sons (1 Chr. 4:15), and yet gave thus liberally to his daughter.

Ye have not because ye ask not! Now, just because we ask, doesn’t mean we will get what we ask. God is not a magic genie, bestowing upon us all that we desire. There are conditions to asking boldly of our Father in prayer. First, the rest of the James verse explains that sometimes we do not receive because we ask wrongly. If we are asking in order to indulge our passions, it will not be granted. If we regard iniquity in our heart, prayer will not be heard. (Psalm 66:18). There are other conditions, too, which if in place mean the prayer will not be heard, no matter how bold it is. (source with scriptures here,please look at the list).
Conclusion:

Prayer: Nothing is too great and nothing is too small to commit into the hands of the Lord!
— A. W. Pink

Our Father who is holy, will give good gifts. Be bold in prayer, be diligent in asking, be sure of the result.

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Further resources:

Sermon “Pray Boldly“, here John MacArthur explains the weird scene from Luke 11
jmac sermon “don’t be afraid to ask’

Charles Spurgeon’s sermon Have not because ye ask not? exposits the scene with Achsah.

Thomas Watson quotes on prayer, here at Grace Gems

Valley of Vision, The Prayer of Love

Sipping wine in the place where the grape is grown

In the late 1980s I was inspired by the movie Shirley Valentine, a film that depicted a middle-aged London wife unhappy with her boring husband and her dreary life. “I want to sip wine in the place where the grape is grown” Shirley had said. So she chucked her husband and her life and jetted off to sunny Greece, swam topless, had an affair, and decided to stay. I guess she liked the wine better than her husband.

grapes

Vineyard, Chiusi, Tuscany. EPrata photo

I was very much taken with the notion of changing one’s life. I was entranced by Shirley’s life mantra, of ‘sipping wine in the place where the grape is grown’. I had tried a conventional life, but my husband had chucked me, I was saddled with a house in a dreary climate and three jobs to pay for it. I wanted more. Sipping wine in places where it’s grown was certainly not the dying mill city of snowy Lewiston Maine. It bespoke of gentle Tuscan hillsides, green California dreams, or Greek whitewashed stucco. What a goal, Shirley, what a goal.

I went to wine places. California, Tuscany, South of France, rolling hills and grape vines abounding. But wine was just wine and the problem was the same. I met my goal. It was empty.

I searched with my heart how to cheer my body with wine—my heart still guiding me with wisdom—and how to lay hold on folly, till I might see what was good for the children of man to do under heaven during the few days of their life. …

What was the meaning of life? Where was permanence, solidity, something that would not disappear in a breath? Something that would give lasting joy, meaning, and purpose? What is man’s chief end??

Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had expended in doing it, and behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun. (Ecclesiastes 2:2-4, 11).

Question. 1. What is the chief end of man?
Answer. Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him for ever. Westminster Shorter Catechism

The Puritan Thomas Watson preached on this in his sermon, Man’s Chief End is to Glorify God

Here are two ends of life specified. 1. The glorifying of God. 2. The enjoying of God.

First. The glorifying of God, 1 Pet. 4:11. “That God in all things may be glorified.” The glory of God is a silver thread which must run through all our actions. l Cor. 10:31. “Whether therefore ye eat or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”

Everything works to some end in things natural and artificial; now, man being a rational creature, must propose some end to himself, and that should be, that he may lift up God in the world. He had better lose his life than the end of his living.

The great truth asserted is that the end of every man’s living should be to glorify God. Glorifying God has respect to all the persons in the Trinity; it respects God the Father who gave us life; God the Son, who lost his life for us; and God the Holy Ghost, who produces a new life in us; we must bring glory to the whole Trinity.

Q. What is it to glorify God?
A. Glorifying God consists in four things: 1. Appreciation, 2. Adoration, 3. Affection, 4. Subjection. This is the yearly rent we pay to the crown of heaven.

Watson continued in his sermon to explain what and how to appreciate, adore, love, and submit to God.

King Solomon, who wrote Ecclesiastes concludes with the eternal wisdom:

Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of every human being. (Ecclesiastes 12:13).

Wine is vanity, travel is vanity. All we do when we relocate is bring our depravity with us. We are the problem. Godless, we are adrift in a sea of evil, wafting from one vain flurry to another. Drifting as dust motes upon an acid air, we leave evil, bring evil, and expire as evil. We believe ourselves to be maidens of rosy blush and coy innocence, when we are simply mud mounds cast upon miry shores. Godless, we are drenched with corruption.

The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And God saw the earth, and behold, it was corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth. (Genesis 6:5,12).

When we are saved by His grace through faith, we are cleansed, our sin nature is given a Helper. We are dressed in white robes and stood on our feet, no longer to crawl in the dust like the serpent. We are given a will and testament that promises eternal peace, treasures, crowns, and dwellings in glory with the Savior. Our goal shifts to one of giving Him glory and enjoying Him forever.

What a goal, what a goal.

The Isthmus of Life

This essay was first published on The End Time on March 9, 2013. I’d like to add to my essay, that you see how narrow an isthmus is. That is life. It is but a breath, a narrow strip whereupon we dwell for only a short time. Then the eternal boundless ocean of either wrath or glory will wash over us and we will be forever it its depths, either in torment or in peace.

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“I desire to have both heaven and hell ever in my eye, while I stand on this isthmus of this life, between two boundless oceans.” ~John Wesley, 1747

An isthmus is a narrow strip of land connecting two larger land areas, usually with water on either side. A tombolo is an isthmus where the strip of land consists of a spit or bar.

The sandy isthmus or tombolo connecting
North and South Bruny Island in Tasmania, Australia

One of my favorite spots on earth is at Lubec Maine, and this shot is of the East Quoddy Lighthouse at Campobello Island, New Brunswick Canada. It is across from Lubec. The famous tides in this area rush in and rise to heights of thirty feet or more. This narrow spit of sand submerges in furious fashion when the tide comes in and covers it up.

If you are standing on the sand when the tide comes in you will find that the current stirs up the sand and pebbles and what you thought was solid to stand on becomes completely unstable. The forces of the water sweep you off your feet and carry you away. Your strength will not able to overcome the strength of the water. Its chilling effect weakens you and hypothermia sets in rapidly. The webpage for the lighthouse warns–

“If you become stranded on the islands by the tide, wait for rescue. Even former keepers of this lighthouse have lost their lives by misjudging the strong, frigid, fast-rising tidal currents, and tide-pressurized unstable pebble ocean floor, while attempting to make this crossing. During a summer in the 1990s, two visitors attempted to swim across this passage. One made it across, but the other was swept away by the current. After a rescue by boat, both had been stricken with hypothermia, were rushed to the hospital — and luckily, survived.”

The page ends with this warning:

DANGER!–TAKE NO RISKS & DO NOT LINGER!

We think of Wesley’s notion of life as an isthmus. It is narrow and temporary. The boundless oceans of heaven and hell are on either side, pressing in. Eventually the land gives way and we are carried away by one, or the other.

Which direction you go depends on your attitude toward Jesus. At the moment of your death, the difference in direction will all come down to one point, one only. Jesus. He will lift you from the hopeless, chilling waters of your looming eternity in hell and bring you to the warm bosom of Himself in glorious heaven. The difference in which boundless ocean you will spend your eternity is repentance. Repent and be saved!

What, then, is the connection between repentance and salvation? The Book of Acts seems to especially focus on repentance in regards to salvation (Acts 2:38; 3:19; 11:18; 17:30; 20:21; 26:20). To repent, in relation to salvation, is to change your mind in regard to Jesus Christ. In Peter’s sermon on the day of Pentecost (Acts chapter 2), he concludes with a call for the people to repent (Acts 2:38). Repent from what? Peter is calling the people who rejected Jesus (Acts 2:36) to change their minds about Him, to recognize that He is indeed “Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:36). Peter is calling the people to change their minds from rejection of Christ as the Messiah to faith in Him as both Messiah and Savior.

Repentance and faith can be understood as “two sides of the same coin.” It is impossible to place your faith in Jesus Christ as the Savior without first changing your mind about who He is and what He has done. Whether it is repentance from willful rejection or repentance from ignorance or disinterest, it is a change of mind. Biblical repentance, in relation to salvation, is changing your mind from rejection of Christ to faith in Christ.

What is repentance and is it necessary for salvation?

So this is the message: DANGER!–TAKE NO RISKS & DO NOT LINGER! Every day one lives on earth without knowing Jesus is a danger. You are taking risks with your eternity. Do not linger in repenting and placing your faith in Jesus.

In My Seat: a 9/11 Pilot’s Story and the Providence of God

God is in sovereign control of every single thing on this earth, in heaven, and throughout the universe. He is at work providentially, invisibly. We would never have known this story until the video was made and the man told of this event. Yet known or unknown, this story of providence is repeated millions of times per day, every day, over and over, by Jesus, so that His plan will come to fruition at any given moment and at every moment.

Do not fear. This same Jesus has your life in His hand. He is orchestrating all things for your good and His glory. Whether His plan had been to put you in that seat, or to take you out of that seat, on any given day, His ministrations and ordination of events will come to pass. He is God, and there is no other.

This 15-minute video is WELL worth your time.

Synopsis:

September 10, 2001, First Officer Steve Scheibner packed his suitcase and waited for the phone call finalizing his assignment to fly American Airlines Flight 11, from Boston to Los Angeles. The call never came. In My Seat recounts the events leading up to Flight 11 and the subsequent death of Tom McGuinness in the seat that should have been filled by Steve Scheibner.

Who was Asaph?

We read the Psalms and think of David. Slayer of giants, musician, singer, King, David was a man after God’s own heart. He was multi-talented and wrote many of the Psalms, which are songs. But did you know that David wrote only half of the Psalms? Solomon, David’s son and successor wrote 2 of them. Moses is assigned authorship of Psalm 90, a prayer. The sons of Korah wrote 11 psalms while Psalm 88’s authorship is attributed to Heman, and one is assigned to Ethan the Ezrahite.

Another group of 21 psalms is ascribed to the Asaph and his descendants. Asaph is assigned authorship of Psalms 50 and 73-83. So, who was Asaph?

Asaph was a Levite music leader, leading the Tabernacle choir. (1 Chronicles 6:33, 39). His name means “to gather together” which is a great name for a congregational music leader. He is mentioned along with David as skilled in music, and of course not only did he write songs and play instruments but he was also a skilled singer. Interestingly, Asaph is also a seer, (2 Chronicles 29:30) which is a prophet who sees visions.

SEER (chozeh). Generally synonymous with the role of the prophet (e.g., 2 Sam 24:11; 1 Chr 21:9; Amos 7:12). However, at times, it is used as a distinct term from that of prophet (2 Kgs 17:13). Seer, by connotation of the Hebrew word affiliated with it being connected to the idea of receiving a vision (חֹזֶה, chozeh), may be more connected to the idea of visions than the prophetic word, although this is not necessarily the case in all usages. Barry, J. D. (2016). Seer. The Lexham Bible Dictionary. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

In Psalm 73, of Asaph, we read that the author was angry and discontent with the sleekness and seeming prosperity of the wicked. He mourned their health and prosperity, and wondered if his own efforts at a narrow walk and holiness were in vain. Then comes the turning point of the Psalm at verse 16-17-

But when I thought how to understand this,
it seemed to me a wearisome task,
until I went into the sanctuary of God;
then I discerned their end
. (Psalm 73:16-17).

It is this way with us. Until you enter the prayer closet, or the sanctuary, and inquire of God, you will be disgruntled. Communing with God in prayer or song relieves the stormy heart and soothes the troubled mind.

We’re grateful that the Spirit inspired the Psalms and included them in the Bible for us to be refreshed by. We see that the human condition of faltering, wondering, coveting the wicked’s prosperous way are not new. We see also that our faithful God is always there, and can and does comfort us. As Asaph ended his Psalm,

For behold, those who are far from you shall perish;
you put an end to everyone who is unfaithful to you.
28But for me it is good to be near God;
I have made the Lord GOD my refuge,
that I may tell of all your works
.

Let us tell of Jesus’ works today.

old harp singing
EPrata photo

His Mercy is More

Our music leader introduced a new-to-us song this past Sunday. This is a new-ish contemporary hymn written by Matt Papa and Matt Boswell. I loved it. I am not a fan of new music, not because it is new, but because it is theologically light, theologically aberrant, or too hard to sing congregationally. The Boswell/Papa duo write songs that are the opposite of those negatives. This is one of the good new songs.

I positively like this song. I commend it to you.

Have a merciful day!

Live recording of “His Mercy is More”, a powerful new congregational worship song by Matt Boswell and Matt Papa. Filmed and recorded live at Providence Church in Frisco, Texas with worship leader Matt Boswell and Boyce College Choir.

 

 

VERSE 1
What love could remember no wrongs we have done
Omniscient, all knowing, He counts not their sum
Thrown into a sea without bottom or shore
Our sins they are many, His mercy is more

VERSE 2
What patience would wait as we constantly roam
What Father, so tender, is calling us home
He welcomes the weakest, the vilest, the poor
Our sins they are many, His mercy is more

VERSE 3
What riches of kindness he lavished on us
His blood was the payment, His life was the cost
We stood ‘neath a debt we could never afford
Our sins they are many, His mercy is more

CHORUS
Praise the Lord
His mercy is more
Stronger than darkness, new every morn
Our sins they are many, His mercy is more

The House on the Rock

The Ocean State is aptly named Growing up in Rhode Island in the 1960s was a fun experience. The nation’s smallest state is beautiful and the ocean and bay is never far from anyone who lives there. We happened to live just a few miles from the ocean and most Sundays we took a drive south to Saunderstown, crossed the Jamestown bridge, and then took the ferry to Newport. Dad would drive us around the island on Ocean Drive past all the mansions, and then we’d have a picnic by the sea at the Park.

There was no Newport Bridge at that time. On the bridge and the ferry, we passed boats, the islands with lighthouses, and other sights. One sight always captured my attention.

Clingstone.

Clingstone

Source. CC BY-SA 4.0

Clingstone is a house built in 1905, perched atop a small, rocky island in an island group called “The Dumplings” in Narragansett Bay, near Jamestown, Rhode Island. It withstood the devastating 1938 Hurricane, (though was damaged) faced other hurricanes, storms, decay, renovation, and more. The house is known by locals as “The House on a Rock”.

Even to my young eyes the house looked strong. I mean, it’s built on a rock! I often wondered what it was like to live there.

I don’t have to wonder any more what it is like to build my house on the rock. In His grace, He saved me and taught me to cling to the rock. I have my own Clingstone now. Isn’t it funny how life goes. Jesus, who was so far from my mind for over 40 years, is my All in All now. The little girl with big eyes looking at the House on a Rock, has one of her own now.

The verses below are familiar but please slow yourself and read them carefully. Then really think about it for a minute, before you go on to other things. The verses are soul-soothing. Be encouraged.

Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. (Matthew 7:24-25).