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Expanding Peace

Series Title: Going Up with the Psalms of Ascent (chapter 14)

 

These edited transcripts are taken from Dwight's most loved audio series, Highways in Their Hearts. Click here to see the downloadable audio version in our online store.

 

Here is one of the most exciting and essential texts in the five foundational books of Moses (known to Yeshua as the Torah).


The LORD descended in the cloud and stood with Moses there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD. The LORD passed before him and proclaimed, "The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love [hesed] and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty" (Exodus 34:5-7).


God came down and prepared the new tablets for Moses after the sin of Israel. Brothers and sisters, here we have God himself telling the truth about himself; therefore, don't let anybody ever tell you otherwise!


What does God abound in? That's right, grace (hesed).


The word "abound" pictures an overflowing stream; God's grace overflows. Now, notice how his grace includes both his mercy and justice. Yes, he punishes the wicked, but that verse comes after the full expression of his love and is, indeed, part of it in ways beyond our way of thinking.


Because God abounds in grace, he shares his counsel and wisdom. The word torah means teaching and instruction—God's guidelines for living. Unfortunately, removed from the first-century Hebraic context of Jesus, we think of the Torah almost exclusively in terms of law with all its negative connotations.


The Torah is an expression of God's grace, not a reflection of his anger and judgment. It is not an onerous law designed to trip you up so that he can condemn you to everlasting darkness and death. It is given in order to lead you to life. I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live (Deut 30:19).


Why am I saying this? Because if you cannot break out of this bifurcation of God in your mind, you will struggle to fully appreciate what it means to trust in him as your Father. Yes, he is holy, and you fall on your face in his presence. But my friends, you are in the presence of the One who abounds in grace (Heb 4:16).


So much so that he emptied himself of his divinity and became a man to show us how to live the life God designed, and then he died to liberate us and empower us with the divine Spirit to live that way. It is all God's grace from beginning to end. Tell me, what was a distinguishing characteristic of the Son? He was a teacher like his Father.


We would never say it out loud, but there is an ancient heresy masquerading as a Christian tradition that deeply troubles our psyche. It is a kind of schizophrenic thinking that puts Jesus on the light side and Yahweh on the dark side. It is a heinous distortion that effectively separates what God has joined together: the Testaments.


One of the main reasons we have so much trouble trusting God is because lurking in the back of our minds is this twisted, negative image of Jehovah.


Within one hundred years after the death of Jesus, a theology that leaned in this direction had arisen. It got so out of hand that under the influence of Gnosticism, it led a church father to start an influential movement and develop his own canon of Scripture. His name was Marcion (85-160 A.D.).


What he said, openly and unabashedly, is that Jehovah was not the same God of whom Jesus was the incarnation. Instead, Jehovah was a lesser deity that had taken the lower realm of the earth captive and imposed a harsh law to keep us all in bondage. In Marcion's view, Jesus was an incarnation of the unknown God who is beyond all the realms and all the lesser deities. And in Jesus, God, the loving Father, broke Jehovah's hold over people.


The teachings of Marcion and his followers were rightfully condemned as heresy by the early Church Fathers. I know you don't believe what Marcion taught. But you must be aware that his ideas live on and subtly attempt to attach themselves to your Christian thinking.


If the God of Israel is not the Lord and Father of Jesus Christ, then you and I are all victims of the greatest spiritual scam this world has ever seen. Jesus exposed this deception when he claimed to be the only begotten Son of Yahweh, the Father. And his resurrection vindicated his declaration. To say otherwise is to deny the whole basis of biblical teaching. And like every lie, it undermines your ability to trust him.


The psalmist who wrote, those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion (125:1) also wrote that the scepter of wickedness shall not rest on the land allotted to the righteous (125:3). The author is evidently under some distress and what he says is both a statement of fact and an expression of faith. Yes, you can rest unmoved in God. Yes, he is going to deliver you from trouble.


The key to appropriating all the blessings of trust is to learn a vital lesson about God's government—his rule and reign on earth as in heaven. The more government you give Jesus, the more shalom you will have in your life.


For to us a child is born,

to us a son is given;

and the government shall be upon his shoulder,

and his name shall be called

Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,

Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.


Of the increase of his government and of peace

there will be no end,

on the throne of David and over his kingdom,

to establish it and to uphold it

with justice and with righteousness

from this time forth and forevermore.

The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.

- Isaiah 9:6-7


Jesus is the King of kings promised through the royal line of David. The more reign he has over your life, the more peace you will know. The two are in a direct relationship.


If you need more completeness, wholeness, integrity, security, well-being, and peace in your life—find ways to give the Prince of Peace more authority. Ask him to help you obey his will, submit to his authority, and commit your life more wholeheartedly to him. Then, my dear friends, you will experience the expanding peace (shalom) that flows from trust (batach).



 

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This study is from a professionally produced transcription of the audio recording. It was edited for readability by the team at JC Studies.


Dwight A. Pryor (1945-2011) was a gifted Bible teacher of exceptional clarity and depth who earned the friendship and admiration of both Christian and Jewish scholars—in the United States and Israel—as well as the respect and appreciation of followers of Jesus around the world. His expertise in the language, literature, and culture of Israel during the life and time of Jesus and the early church yield insights that nourish every area of faith and practice.


Dwight founded JC Studies in 1984 to edify the people of God. Click here to explore over fifty of his audio and video seminars.

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