Tag Archives: Holy

Why Christmas?

For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. (John 3:17)

It is said that “familiarity breeds contempt.” One need look no further than the season of Christmas to see the truth of this axiom. Forget about the lost world that has no concept of the true meaning of Christmas. Christians, who should possess at least a rudimentary understanding of the significance of the season, too often get caught up in the madness associated with “the holidays” right along with those who know no better.

In all the cacophony of TV and radio commercials, traffic noise, buzzing shopping malls, clanging Salvation Army bells, and “holiday” music at every turn, does the question even come up? Why Christmas? Why all the fuss? In spite of all the warm sentiments intoned by joyful holiday songs, the season carries with it an increase in stress, depression and even suicide. So much for “Happy Holidays!” Why bother?

Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem, Israel

I remember visiting the Church of the Nativity in Bethlem, Israel last year. We stood for two and a half painful hours on hard, uneven limestone floors waiting to see the supposed place of Jesus’ birth. When we finally crouched through the constricted cave opening, we found a small alcove adorned with a plethora of lighted candles illuminating a gold 14-pointed star in the center of a polished marble floor. A hole in the center of the star marked the very spot where Mary gave birth to the baby Jesus. The garish display rendered the prolonged anticipation anticlimactic. Perhaps in a similar fashion, the significance of Christmas has been long lost to the millennia of ostentatious trappings and traditions we have attached to it.

So, why Christmas? Stop! Silence the noise! Trash the shiny paper and bright bows and ribbons! Douse the twinkling lights! Be still and think!

We, humans, suffer from a terminal condition called death. We inherited this terminal condition from our original parents, Adam and Eve (Genesis 3). They were originally created to live forever, but their disobedience to God’s only command brought upon them the death penalty. Did I mention that they were created to live forever? The death penalty, therefore, comes in two phases: physical death and spiritual death. Because of Adam’s sin, we all die physically. “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). However, the spirit continues through eternity. Spiritual death is eternal separation from the Creator; the Bible calls that the “second death.” “And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death” (Revelation 20:14).

Because of Adam’s sin, all humans suffer the same fate. “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned” (Romans 5:12). No one is excluded from the death sentence, and all must pay the price. “For the wages of sin is death …” (Romans 6:23).

However, God made a temporary provision for covering the sins of man. It was the blood sacrifice of an innocent animal, but that was not a permanent fix. “For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins” (Hebrews 10:4). The fact remains that sin is humanity’s problem. Animals do not sin; they are innocent. Therefore, the “wages of sin” must be paid by man, not animals, but that is the problem. No human is innocent, i.e., sinless. “All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).

The Bible teaches God loves us, even though we are all sinners. However, God is holy and just, and He cannot and will not allow sin to go unpunished. “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9, emphasis mine). God does not want us to be eternally separated from Him, but the sin debt must be paid.

Therefore God became a man born of a virgin untouched by any man so that He could be born completely free from the curse of sin. He grew up like any other man but without sin. “For we have not an high priest [Jesus Christ] which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15, emphasis mine). “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:5-8, emphasis mine). “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit” (1 Peter 3:18).

Why Christmas? “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16, emphasis mine). There’s your Christmas present! God became a man to be the perfect sacrifice to pay the wages of sin in our stead so that we will not have to be eternally separated from Him. He offers us our redemption as a gift if we choose to accept it. That’s why Christmas.


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And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; (Ephesians 5:18)

The Bible nowhere prohibits absolute abstinence from alcohol. Indeed, Solomon seems to encourage one to “Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart; for God now accepteth thy works” (Ecclesiastes 9:7). The psalmist says that God has given us all good things, “And wine that maketh glad the heart of man, and oil to make his face to shine, and bread which strengtheneth man’s heart” (Psalm 104:15).

So, the Bible does not prohibit the use of alcohol, however, it does discourage its abuse. “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise” (Proverbs 20:1) “He that loveth pleasure shall be a poor man: he that loveth wine and oil shall not be rich” (Proverbs 21:17). Who hath woe? who hath sorrow? who hath contentions? who hath babbling? who hath wounds without cause? who hath redness of eyes? They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine. Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright. At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder” (Proverbs 23:29-32). “It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink: Lest they drink, and forget the law, and pervert the judgment of any of the afflicted” (Proverbs 31:4-5).

However, there are practical reasons to abstain. First of all, I do not know of anyone who can honestly say they can “control” their consumption of alcohol, especially in a “social” setting. By the time they get “a buzz,” they are already too incapacitated to operate a motor vehicle. At that point, they have already lost some of their self-control. Furthermore, no one knows how alcohol will affect one, or if one has a propensity for alcoholism. Therefore, as a practical matter, it is better to abstain altogether. After all, there is no proven health benefit from drinking alcohol. On the contrary, prolonged alcohol use is deleterious to one’s health – cirrhosis of the liver, heart disease, hypertension, et al.

For Christians, the primary reason for abstinence is the Christian testimony we give to our brothers and sisters in Christ and to the non-believing world around us. The Apostle Paul gives practical reasons for abstinence in Romans 14. “It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak” (Romans 14:21). Notice that he does not say, “don’t do it,” but rather that is better not to. To the Corinthians he writes, “All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.… Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God: Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved” (1 Corinthians 10:23, 32-33). In a nutshell, he says that our Christian testimony supersedes our personal interest. Furthermore, God calls us to holiness, i.e. to be set apart from the world around us. “But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:15-16). This requires a serious lifestyle adjustment. Paul says, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:1-2). Notice that “holiness” makes the “living sacrifice” acceptable to God.

In summary, there is no absolute prohibition against alcohol consumption in the Bible; however, for the Christian, it is a matter of one’s testimony and a matter of holiness. “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31).

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Good For Who?

Set Apart

For I am the LORD your God: ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be holy; for I am holy: neither shall ye defile yourselves with any manner of creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.  (Leviticus 11:44)

We are right in the middle of the Lenten Season observed by many mainline Protestant denominations and different varieties of Catholic churches (Roman, Greek, Russian, etc.). Beginning with Ash Wednesday (this year observed on February 10, 2016), the faithful observe 40 days of “fasting” in preparation for Easter. (I prefer calling it Resurrection Sunday.) Celebrants observe the season by giving up something “sacrificial” for Lent. The sacrifice could be anything like giving up TV, Snickers candy bars, eating meat on Fridays, not going to movies or anything equally superfluous, but prior to the season of deprivation, celebrants indulge in a day of depravation known as Fat Tuesday. They stoke up on enough indulgence to last through the 40 days of deprivation.

If it sounds as if I am making light of the observance, please understand that I know many who are sincere in the practice, and that is admirable; however, there are more who observe the season by rote without taking into account the significance. However my theme here is not about Lent, but rather it is about holiness. Would it not be better to live a godly lifestyle consistently as a matter of practice rather than trying to force upon oneself a token meaningless act that, if kept, lasts for a short time and then is forgotten? Indeed, God would have us conduct ourselves in holiness all the time.

I have addressed this topic in the past perhaps because the older I get, the more I recognize my own deficiency in this area. I also see the growing invasion of “worldliness” spreading in our churches, including our more “conservative” evangelical churches. I attribute much of this to a general lack of biblical literacy, especially with regard to Old Testament teaching regarding the Mosaic Law.[1] To many modern Christians, only the New Testament applies to us because we are living under “Grace,” not under the “Law.”[2] That, I believe, comes from a misunderstanding of both Grace and Law.

I recently read through the book of Leviticus, and it once again became apparent to me that many of the laws given had no other purpose than to distinguish the “people of God” from the goyim (Gentiles/nations) among whom they lived. The phrase “be holy” is repeated some 29 times in the Pentateuch, and whether applied to objects used in worship or to the people themselves, it means to set that thing apart for a special and unique purpose. Our leading verse instructs the people to “sanctify yourselves,” i.e. consecrate or set yourselves apart. Where the implements of worship were concerned, they were not to be used for common purposes. Every object used in the Tabernacle (and later in the Temple) was dedicated only for the purpose it was designed. If a platter held the showbread, it could not be used for any other purpose. It was “holy” – dedicated, consecrated, sanctified, set apart for one purpose only.

The people likewise were to be set apart. “Ye shall be holy: for I the LORD your God am holy” (Leviticus 19:2, emphasis mine). For what were they to be holy? “And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation” (Exodus 19:6, emphasis mine). God’s purpose for His people has not changed in that regard. Note John’s description of the risen Christ in his address to the churches: “Unto him [the Lord Jesus Christ] that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen (Revelation 1:5b-6).  Just like the nation of Israel, the Church of Christ (not the denomination that takes that name) is to be holy – set apart – to be a kingdom of priests to the world around us.[3]

As kings and priests, we should exemplify the Law of God. We do not obey the Law in order to obtain our position as kings and priests, but because we have obtained that position through Grace. In order to obey the Law, we must first know and understand the Law, and that understanding comes from studying the Law that God gave to Israel in the Old Testament. Granted, much of particulars, such as dress code and dietary laws do not apply to us, but the principle of distinctiveness from the “world” remains.

One example that came to mind was the prohibition from wine that was given to the priests. “And the LORD spake unto Aaron, saying, Do not drink wine nor strong drink, thou, nor thy sons with thee, when ye go into the tabernacle of the congregation, lest ye die: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations: And that ye may put difference between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean” (Leviticus 10:8-10, emphasis mine). Notice that the prohibition was limited to their going into the Tabernacle (later that applied to the Temple). Now consider what Paul said to the Corinthian Church: “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are” (1 Corinthians 3:16-17, emphasis mine). Not only are we kings and priests, but we are also the Temple of the Holy Spirit, so with regard to “wine and strong drink” Christians should abstain. Yet there are many Christians that will excuse themselves from this prohibition by saying that the Bible only condemns drunkenness and not simply the occasional glass of wine or just one brewski. Well then, what about the fact that we are kings and priests and that we are the Temple of God? We are to be “holy” in all things. “Be ye holy” was not only meant for the Israelites; it applies to us as well. “But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:15-16, emphasis mine). That archaic word “conversation” refers to one’s life-conduct; so in every manner in which we conduct our lives, we should be holy.

More examples could be cited. What about the prohibition against tattoos (Leviticus 19:28)? Yet we have many Christians following the pattern of the world rather than being distinct from the world. But the point here is not so much about following an arbitrary set of rules, but following the One who put those rules in place. Over 73 times in the Pentateuch God emphasizes “I AM the LORD.” Forty-five (45) of those (62%, almost 2/3) appear in the book of Leviticus. Might God be trying to tell us something – “Do what I say because I AM the Lord!”

In closing, let me stress that this is meant for God’s people. One does not have to keep the Law to become a child of God. But as any good son desires to please his father, should not God’s children desire to please their Heavenly Father? And how does one do that? One does it by following His laws. He gave them to us as a pattern for our life conduct. Can we do that perfectly? I know I can’t, but that does not mean I don’t try. Nor should it be something over which we fret, because He has given us His Holy Spirit to help our weakness. “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20, emphasis mine). The faith “of the Son of God” is our source of strength. We live holy lives for Him and by Him.


[1]  See “Is the Law Sin?” https://erniecarrasco.com/2014/06/08/is-the-law-sin/

[2]  See “God’s Laws” https://erniecarrasco.com/2016/01/10/gods-laws/

[3]  See “Kings and Priests” https://erniecarrasco.com/2015/09/06/kings-and-priests/

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God’s Laws


… in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws. (Genesis 26:4-5)

I don’t know where we, Evangelical Christians, have gotten the idea that the Old Testament laws no longer apply. A few years ago, Dr. Charles Swindoll came out with a book entitled Grace Awakening where, I think, he attempts to assuage the guilt some Christians bear due to unnecessary legalism and encourage Christians to take joy in the freedom found through Christ. I have a great deal of respect for Dr. Swindoll. He is a far greater scholar and theologian that I can ever hope to be, but I think he unintentionally opened the door to liberalism here.

Swindoll rightly affirms that salvation, i.e., “justification” cannot be achieved through the works of the Law (Galatians 2:16, Ephesians 2:8-9), but then he unintentionally, I hope, implies that the Christian is no longer subject to the law. Here it is that we part ways, because the results of “grace living,” from my observation, are “carnal” Christians. The result is that modern Evangelical Christians are indistinguishable from the world around them, except on Sundays, when they are at their worship services.

Here is the truth: no one can be saved – be justified, have eternal life – through any act or effort of their own (Galatians 2:16, Ephesians 2:8-9). It is only through grace – the unmerited favor, the free gift – of God. It is all God’s doing, and it happens the instant one believes – places his trust – in the saving work of Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection (John 1:12; 3:16, 36). Once that takes place, the matter is forever settled. One does not have to keep a long list of laws to come to that point. One does not need the proper theological understanding to come to that point. In the words of the children’s chorus, “Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so.” Salvation takes place the instant one believes. That one act settles the matter. Now there remains the matter of “living” the Christian life. Here is where the Law comes to play.

Before I develop that point, let me preface the keeping of the Law by assuring the believer, especially the new Christian, that keeping the Laws of God is not accomplished through our own effort. At the moment we are saved, God’s Spirit comes to reside in us (1 Corinthians 3:16). God says, “I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts” (Jeremiah 31:33). Jesus said, “Take my yoke upon you … For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light (Matthew 11:29-30). The “burden” of the Law, for the Christian, is born supernaturally, so that the Christian should not suffer undue stress over keeping the law; however that does not mean no effort is required. Jesus said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15), so obviously some effort is involved on the part of the Christian, but that effort is aided by the Holy Spirit that dwells within us.

So, what are those commandments, i.e. the laws, which the Christian must keep? Simply speaking, they are the same laws God has always maintained. God’s laws are eternal. God says, “I am the LORD, I change not” (Malachi 3:6, emphasis mine). Jesus said, “For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled” (Matthew 5:18, emphasis mine). In our beginning verse above (Genesis 26:4-5), Abraham lived about 500 years before the Mosaic Law was given, and yet God says of him, “Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws” (emphasis mine). When Jesus said, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil” (Matthew 5:17, emphasis mine).  By fulfilling the Law, He did not negate God’s law. Rather, by perfectly keeping God’s law, He qualified Himself to be the perfect, sinless sacrifice for our sins, so that we don’t have to – not that we could ever keep God’s law perfectly. As His followers, we are still responsible to keep His commandments.

How does the Christian accomplish that? Jesus gave us the simplest way to accomplish this. He said, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind … And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets” (Matthew 22:37-40). This is good for beginners, but as the Christian grows in the faith, the “heart, soul, and mind” will want to do more out of love for “the Lord thy God.”

Love for God implies love for God’s Word – all of God’s Word, which includes the Old Testament. There the Christian will find the Law of God in the first five books of the Bible. Obviously some of those laws no longer apply. For example, we no longer have to offer animal sacrifices, because the blood of Christ is the ultimate sacrifice. Most of us Christians are Gentiles, so the dietary laws no longer apply, although, following them might make us healthier. Some of the dress code does not apply to Christians, however the principal behind such laws is still in effect.

Many of those laws were given to distinguish God’s people from the heathen nations around them.  God said, “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 (Exodus 19:5, emphasis mine). That word “peculiar” in the Hebrew implies something “special” that is “shut up” and treasured. In another place, God said, “For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God, and the LORD hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth” (Deuteronomy 14:2, emphasis mine). “Holy” means to be set aside as consecrated or sacred. In fact God demands holiness from His people: “Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy: for I am the LORD your God” (Leviticus 20:7, emphasis mine). For those who think that the Old Testament no longer applies, that command is repeated in the New Testament (1 Peter 1:15-16).

God’s people are to be distinct from the world. They should be set apart. They should be holy. God’s people should reflect God, not mimic the world. The way we do that is to follow God’s laws. Will we be able to follow God’s laws perfectly? Don’t count on it, and don’t be disheartened when you fail. But that does not mean that we don’t try. When we do fail, we can find comfort in knowing that “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). We can still be joyful knowing that God loves us and has forgiven us even when we fail to keep His laws perfectly. But don’t think for one moment that God’s laws can be discarded by the Christian. Indeed, Paul, that great advocate of grace said, “Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good” (Romans 7:12) because it gives us a standard that we can follow. It helps us to recognize sin in our lives and it guides us to holy living. But on the day we stand before God’s throne, we will not be judged by the Law, but by the blood that Jesus shed on the cross for us.


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Psalm 103

All that is within me, bless His Holy Name!

All that is within me, bless His Holy Name!

Psalm 103

A Psalm of David. Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. (Psalm 103:1)

This wonderful psalm reminds us to give grateful praise to God for all His goodness and love that He continually demonstrates for His children. When we think of blessing someone, we often think of doing something good for that person. When we think of God blessing us, we might think of having good health, a nice home, a wonderful family and friends or any number of things – good things. But is that really what it means to be blessed? And if that is so, how can we possibly bless God? I mean, what can we give to God that He does not already have? (Besides your heart)

Perhaps “blessing” is not what we think it is. As translated in this psalm (and many other places in the Old Testament) the Hebrew word is bârak, and according to the Strong’s Dictionary, it means: “to kneel; by implication to bless God (as an act of adoration), and (vice-versa) man (as a benefit); also (by euphemism) to curse (God or the king, as treason): –  X abundantly, X altogether, X at all, blaspheme, bless, congratulate, curse, X greatly, X indeed, kneel (down), praise, salute, X still, thank.” I don’t know about you, but that definition is certainly confusing. In reading the context of the psalm, we gather that cannot mean to curse God, so by the general tone of the psalm we can infer “an act of adoration.” The Greek translation in the Septuagint (LXX) of this psalm uses the word eulόgei, which means “to speak well of,” and from which we get our English word “eulogy.” I have never been to a funeral where an ill word was spoken of the dearly departed; only good is spoken of the dead in a eulogy.

So this psalm encourages us to “eulogize” God from the very core of our being. We are to “speak well of” His holy name. Why should we do this? The next four verses instruct us. We “eulogize” Him because of how He treats us, i.e., “His benefits.” He forgives our perversities (“iniquities”) which is a disease that only He can heal. He “redeems” our lives, i.e., He “buys us back” from destruction, i.e., eternity in hell. Not only that, but He elevates us to royal status by awarding us a crown, and all of this is because of His “loving-kindness” and “tender mercies.” This reminds me of Jesus’ parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32) who spurned his father’s love and wasted all that his father gave to him. Then, while in the filthy, smelly pigsty, having hit absolute bottom, the son remembered all that the father’s house had to offer, and leaving his pride in the mud pit, he determined to return to his father’s house as a lowly servant. But rather than chastise him for his ingratitude and cast him out as a worthless vagrant, the father welcomed him with open arms and elevated him to his former status of the master’s son and heir to the father’s wealth. Then the father threw a huge party with lots of wonderful food – he killed the “fatted calf” that was reserved for special occasions – to celebrate his boy’s return. The fifth verse tells us that He “satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” Imagine how the son felt after a long season of hunger, shame, and disgrace! That is what God offers us, and we should speak well of Him for that.

We eulogize the Lord because He carries out righteous judgment on behalf of all who are oppressed. He is merciful – He withholds the punishment we deserve; He is slow to anger. He is gracious – granting us what we do not deserve; He is abounding in mercy. “He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities” (v. 10). As great as His mercy is – greater than the heights of heaven – it is there for those “that fear Him.” Do not think for one moment that you can live like the devil and obtain His mercy; but His mercy is there when you recognize Him for Who He is – the great Creator God, Who is to be feared, and whose name is holy and deserves to be “well-spoken of.” When we understand that, He will remove our transgressions, “As far as the east is from the west so far hath he removed our transgressions from us” (v. 12).

“Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him” (v. 13). “Pity” is an unfortunate translation here. The Hebrew word is râcham, and it means to fondle, love, show compassion. Picture a father or mother cuddling an infant child – that’s the picture; and again it is qualified by “them that fear Him.” His love and compassion stem from the fact that He knows our “frame.” That Hebrew noun is yêtser, whose verb form is yâtsar, which means to “mold” or “form” as a potter fashions a clay vessel. God knows how we were made because He made us out of the dust of the earth, and He cherishes us. This should cause us to “bless” His name!

Our life on earth is brief. Moses said, “The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away” (Psalm 90:10). This psalm reminds us of that truth. When compared to eternity, our life is like grass or a Texas wild flower; when the hot winds of summer blow in, they dry up and their beauty is forgotten. But God’s mercy is not like that. This psalm says that His mercy “is from everlasting to everlasting” (v. 17). Once again, the promise is to “them that fear Him,” i.e., “To such as keep his covenant, and to those that remember his commandments to do them” (v. 18). For these “The LORD hath prepared his throne in the heavens; and his kingdom ruleth over all” (v. 19).

In light of all that God has done, all of His creation – the hosts of angels that do His bidding and all of His “works” over which He has dominion (that includes everything and excludes nothing) – can do no less than “speak highly, reverently, and fearfully of the Lord.” And if we fail to do so, Jesus says that the very “stones would immediately cry out” (Luke 19:40). Let not the stones do what we were created to do.  “Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.”

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