Today’s Scrip-Bit 21 February 2021 Deuteronomy 33:27a.

Deuteronomy 33:27a.     The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms:

Welcome to another Sunday morning friends! Are you ready to gather for another week through technological means to give our great God some much deserved praise and worship? And all God’s children shouted out a loud, proud and grateful ‘Yes!’ Well then, let’s get started by singing this awesome hymn that resonates with courage and solace in those rough times when we are seeking comfort. It’s titled ‘Leaning On the Everlasting Arms.’ And what better place to go for comfort that in the mighty and wide open arms of Christ eh? NONE, my people! 

It’s reputed that the comforting words of Deuteronomy 33:27 engendered the thoughts for the hymn to Anthony J. Showalter in the late 19thcentury as he was replying to letters from two of his former pupils whose wives had died. Later on, with the help of Elisha Hoffman, a noted hymn writer, they penned this wonderful song. And I particularly like this bit of advice from the website Hymnary.org: ‘As the hymn is sung, contemplate what it means to find refuge in our heavenly Father’s arms in times of fear and trial, and to allow His joy and peace to replace our loneliness and anxiety.’ 

Wonderful advice friends! So let’s take it as we raise out voices to heaven in sweet sacrificial praise. In a rich, scintillating, easy rocking riddim: (smile) ‘What a fellowship, what a joy divine, leaning on the everlasting arms; what a blessedness, what a peace is mine, leaning on the everlasting arms. (Refrain: Leaning, leaning, safe and secure from all alarms; leaning, leaning, leaning on the everlasting arms.) O how sweet to walk in this pilgrim’s way, leaning on the everlasting arms; O how bright the path grows from day to day, leaning on the everlasting arms. 

[Refrain] What have I to dread, what have I to fear, leaning on the everlasting arms? I have blessed peace with my Lord so near, leaning on the everlasting arms. Leaning, leaning, safe and secure from all alarms; leaning, leaning, leaning on the everlasting arms, Leaning, leaning, safe and secure from all alarms; leaning on the everlasting arms…leaning on the everlasting arms… oh how good it is to be, leaning on the everlasting arms of Jesus.’ 

And isn’t that last statement one of significant importance and comfort my people? It surely is, because there’s no place of security and comfort like in the arms of Jesus! Mama Yo! Bless His holy name! It is indeed a ‘joy divine’ that brings such wonderful peace of mind. And when we are in such proximity to Him, there’s nothing to dread or be afraid of for He’ll keep us safe and secure from all the alarming things that are currently happening in our world. And when we know that Jesus is looking over us, He has our back, then it’s easy and sweet to walk the pilgrim’s way, for every day becomes brighter and brighter as we get closer to home. 

Now let’s have a look at the scripture that was supposedly the inspiration for this awesome hymn of comfort. Moses wrote to the people of Israel: ‘The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms: and he shall thrust out the enemy from before thee; and shall say, Destroy them.’ (Deut. 32:27) That will certainly make a people stand up and take notice. 

But when you add the rest of that passage, a people will feel themselves invincible. ‘Israel then shall dwell in safety alone: the fountain of Jacob shall be upon a land of corn and wine; also his heavens shall drop down dew. Happy art thou, O Israel: who is like unto thee, O people saved by the Lord, the shield of thy help, and who is the sword of thy excellency (majesty)! And thine enemies shall be found liars unto thee (submit to you); and thou shalt tread upon (tread down) their high places (places of pagan worship).’ (Deut. 33:28-29) 

Oh my brethren, what great words of comfort and promise! And Israel did find succour and promise under the hand of God when they were obedient to Him. But you also know the suffering they endured when they got too big for their britches and turned away from Him. Just like we are suffering right now. But that’s a story for another time. (smile) Right now we’re just looking at a few scriptures that highlight that God is indeed a place of refuge when times are rough. 

Hear Moses again in Psalm 90, the only psalm he ever wrote. ‘Lord, thou hast been our dwelling place (refuge) in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed (gave birth to) the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.’ (Ps. 90:1-2) And as God, He can indeed do wonderful and miraculous things! Now hear how Psalm 91 states it: ‘He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.’ (Ps. 91:1-2) What marvelous words of trust and encouragement friends! 

And Bruh David, when he was hiding in a cave, running from his enemies, and he felt all alone, he declares: ‘I looked on my right hand, and beheld (look on the right hand and see), but there was no man that would know (acknowledge) me: refuge failed me; no man cared for my soul. I cried unto thee, O Lord: I said, thou art my refuge and my portion in the land of the living. Attend (give heed) unto my cry; for I am brought very low: deliver me from my persecutors; for they are stronger than I. Bring my soul out of prison, that I may praise thy name: the righteous shall compass me about (surround me); for thou shalt deal bountifully with me.’ (Ps. 142:4-7) 

And we all know the way Saul and others hunted down Bruh David, but his faith was strong in the Lord and the Lord kept him safe and secure from all his enemies. And yuh know what friends? He will do the same for us if we hold Him in the same high esteem and regard that Bruh David and other great men of faith held Him. That’s the word for today! (smile) Please ponder on it. Much LOVE!

…it doesn’t make sense…to go to any other source than our Creator for help…  

Today’s Scrip-Bit 9 August 2020 Deuteronomy 32:4.

Deuteronomy 32:4.     He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgement: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.
 

Time to gather once more friends…and still mostly technologically. (smile) But who cares how we gather, once we gather to praise and worship the Lord on His day, knowing that He will be amongst us wherever and however we come to Him in humble adoration! And today we begin worship with a real golden oldie, ‘Rock of Ages Cleft for Me.’ And before we go further, let’s talk about a cleft. It’s a space or opening in a rock where one can hide. And in the context of ‘Rock of Ages,’ it is a metaphor for God, used as such throughout the Bible. 

The hymn was written by the Reverend Augustus Toplady in the seventeen sixties, after supposedly finding shelter from a thunderstorm in a cleft of a rock in Somerset, England. And though there’s no proof to substantiate this story, the website Hynary.Org tells us that ‘it does provide a vivid image through which to understand the hymn. Christ and His redemptive work on the cross are like that cleft in the rock, where we can find shelter from the deluge of sin’s guilt and power.’  And this one’s for you Scottie mih brother, because I know you like these golden oldies. (smile) 

So let’s sing loud, proud, grateful, soulful and harmonious nuh. ‘Rock of Ages, cleft for me, let me hide myself in thee; let the water and the blood, from thy wounded side which flowed, be of sin the double cure; save from wrath and make me pure. Not the labours of my hands can fulfill thy law’s demands; could my zeal no respite know, could my tears forever flow, all for sin could not atone; thou must save, and thou alone. 

Nothing in my hand I bring, simply to the cross I cling; naked, come to thee for dress; helpless, look to thee for grace; foul, I to the fountain fly; wash me, Saviour, or I die. Wash me, Saviour or I die. While I draw this fleeting breath, when mine eyes shall close in death, when I soar to worlds unknown, see thee on thy judgment throne, Rock of Ages, cleft for me, let me hide myself in thee…Let me hide myself in thee…let me hide myself in thee….’ 

And believe me friends, there is no better place to hide than in the cleft of Rock that’s our God, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! Now let’s look at a few places in the Good Book where our God is referred to as a Rock. We’ll begin with Moses’ song: ‘Because I will publish (proclaim) the name of the Lord; ascribe ye greatness unto our God. He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgement: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.’ (Deut. 32:3-4) 

And the scholars explain: 32:4-9. A faithful God and a faithless people are pictured. The Rock: The word is placed first in the Hebrew for emphasis. It emphasizes the stability and permanence of the God of Israel. His unchanging nature is contrasted with the fickleness of the covenant people.’ And is that ever so true my brethren; our great God never changes. He is strong and steadfast, the same yesterday, today and forever. No wonder later on Moses could truthfully declare (yeahhh!) to the people of Israel. ‘The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms: and he shall thrust out the enemy from before thee; and shall say, Destroy them.’ (Deut. 33:27) 

Mama Yo! What powerful scripture from our powerful God! And if you don’t want to believe it, that’s your business, but you can bet your bottom dollar that I will believe. And as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord! Now please children, please don’t make me a liar. (smile) And I like how several of these acclamations that God is a rock are found in songs of praise. Listen to this one from Isaiah. 

‘Open ye the gates that the righteous nation which keepeth the truth may enter in. Thou will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on (sustained by) thee: because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the Lord for ever: for in the Lord Jehovah (Yahweh) is everlasting strength (the Rock of Ages.’ (Is. 26:2-4) And we can’t end without this most appropriate scripture from Psalm 18 – Thanksgiving for deliverance. 

Hear Bruh David expatiate on his magnificent and magnanimous God nuh. ‘I will LOVE thee, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength (rock), in whom I will trust; my buckler (shield), and the horn (strength) of my salvation, and my high tower (fortress, stronghold). I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies.’ (Ps. 18:1-3) 

And that’s exactly what Bruh David did friends! And the Lord responded exactly as he said He would, saved him from his enemies. What does that tell us my people? That if we’re wise, we too will surrender our souls to Almighty God, put our most sincere trust in Him, then call on Him in faith to deliver us from our enemies and our problems. And we desperately need to do it right now, because our current problems are bamboozling us, we certainly can’t handle them on our own. Yes friends, our Creator and heavenly Father is the ONLY One who can help us in these perilous times. So let’s surrender and pray nuh. 

And we’ll go home with these beautiful and truthful words from the web site God tube. ‘Even when we may feel like we are all alone, Remember that God is always by our side and will never abandon us. (Heb. 13:5) He is truly our light in the dark and our rock that we can stand upon always. What an amazing feeling to be LOVED by such a kind Father and to give praise to His name with the beautiful hymn ‘Rock of Ages.’ Hearing the story behind the hymn made this classic song even more powerful. What a way to worship!’ My sentiments exactly! Much LOVE!

…oh the blood…the blood of Jesus…the only sure rock to stand on…