Author Archives: Lory Demshar

About Giants, God and You – Part 2

In Part 1 of “Giants, God and You,” we reflected on two ways God prepares us to meet giants in our life.

We reflected on how being a true worshiper of God prepares us to face giants, and how dependence on God trains our faith to stand before giants in our life.

Prepared by Worship
What or who we worship reveals what is at the center of our life. Everything in our life flows out from that center. If we truly worship God alone then when the giants come we automatically turn to God, rather than relying on our own strength.

  • David was a true “worshiper” of God. He ascribed great value to God. David’s heart continually longed for God. His heart was focused on being close to God. This prepared his soul to trust God when trouble came.

Prepared by Dependence on God
When we believe that God is near and that he answers when we call on Him, we will be prepared to meet the giants in our lives. Every time we depend on God our faith grows stronger and we are more prepared to trust God when the giants show up.

Preparing to meet a giant is not an event of the moment, but it is a process that occurs overtime in our walk with God.

In Part 2, we will look at how God prepares us by:
   – observing the character of God in nature around us;
   – learning truths about God from His Word and
   – learning about God through our experience with Him.

Prepared by Nature
The creation around us reveals truths about the beauty, complexity, consistency, power and faithfulness of God.

The Word of God reveals truths to us about God’s character and intent towards man. The scriptures detail how God interacts with man. We can use these truths to encourage our faith and to guide us through life.

David, as a shepherd, spent much time out among God’s creation. In the Psalms, David talks about what nature taught him about God. He sees that God is sovereign and the Creator and Sustainer of life and order. He sees God’s value for and love for man in that God has given man a special place of value and honor. 

  • The heavens keep telling the wonders of God, and the skies declare what he has done.
    Ps. 19:1 (CEV)
  • Yahweh, our Lord, how magnificent is Your name throughout the earth! You have covered the heavens with Your majesty. Psalm 8:1 (HSB)
  • When I behold Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have set in place— what is man that You are mindful of him, or the son of man that You care for him? Psalm 8:3-4

In nature, David sees God’s power and sovereign control over all. He then puts his trust in God’s power.

  • The heavens were made by the word of the Lord, and all the stars, by the breath of His mouth. He gathers the waters of the sea into a heap; He puts the depths into storehouses. Let the whole earth tremble before the Lord; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him. 
  • For He spoke, and it came into being; He commanded, and it came into existence. Psalm 33:6-9 (HCSB)

By observing nature around him, David sees that God has tender compassion and care for all He has created. Therefore David can put his trust in God and know that God will take care of him.

  • The LORD is good to all; His compassion rests on all He has made. Psalm 145:9

Prepared by the Word of God
David had a great love and respect for the Word of God. He allowed the scriptures to cement truths about God into his mind and heart so that in the day of trouble David drew upon these truths to give him courage and inner strength.

David found restoration and life in the Word of God. He found joy and wisdom for life in the Word of God. He gained a sense of security from the God he read about in the scriptures.  Psalm 19: 7-10, reveals how David viewed that Word of God and how he valued it.

  • “The instruction of the Lord is perfect, renewing one’s life; the testimony of the Lord is trustworthy, making the inexperienced wise. 
  • The precepts of the Lord are right, making the heart glad; the command of the Lord is radiant, making the eyes light up.
  • The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever; the ordinances of the Lord are reliable
    and altogether righteous. 
  • They are more desirable than gold—than an abundance of pure gold; and sweeter than honey, which comes from the honeycomb.”  Psalm 19:7-10

David learned truths about God through observing nature around him and through reading the word of God. Knowing these truths prepared David to stand firm in faith when trouble came into his life.

Prepared by Experience
David experienced God’s help in his life during certain situations, and he experienced God’s answers to prayer. This experience prepared David to meet the giant.

David uses some of these experiences of God’s help and deliverance in his life as David explains to Saul how the Philistine giant will be defeated. David remembers how God helped him deliver the sheep from the bear and the lion, and so he trusts that God will deliver him and all of Israel from the giant and the Philistines.

  • But David said to Saul, “Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock,I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. 1 Samuel 17:34-36

In addition to actually rescuing sheep from the very jaws of the lion, David had some skills with a sling. It is very probable that David’s experience as a shepherd trained him in using a sling skillfully.

(Side note:Slingers” were an important part of Israel’s army. They could sling a rock at an enemy from 100 yards away at a speed of up to and surpassing 100 miles per hour. They were like crack snipers in the army.  Judges 20:16 reports: “Among all these soldiers there were 700 select left-handers, each of whom could sling a stone at a (single) hair without missing.”)

David knew about these “slingers” in Saul’s army, 1 Chronicles 12:7. He may have even dreamed about becoming one of them.  He had many opportunities to practice “slinging” as he shepherded the sheep. How many times did he use his sling to kill a wolf, a bear, a lion, or other predator?

David attributes his skill to battle the giant to God’s training of his hands and his heart.

  • Praise be to the Lord my Rock, who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle.
  • He is my loving God and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield, in whom I take refuge, who subdues peoples under me. Psalm 144:1

God Prepares You
God does not leave us alone to face difficulties of life, but in truth He is preparing us all along the way. After reading through Part 2 of this blog, reflect of the ways God has and is preparing you to handle the giants in your life. 

Writing this blog has caused me to ask myself some heart questions. I post them here for your reflection also.

  • What truths from the Word of God encourage my faith in God?
  • What truths have helped me to overcome a giant in my life?
  • Do I have a collection of truths about God from the scriptures that I can go to in time of need?
  • What experiences have I had with God that build into my trust in Him and make me able to engage a giant in my life?
  • What skills has God trained into me that help me stand before giants?
  • What are some of the most outstanding prayers that God has answered in my life that strengthen me and cause you to step toward the line of battle to fight the giant instead of running away?

Help build into someone else’s faith by sharing one of these things with them.

About Giants, God and You – Part 1

When I was a child I never read or heard the Biblical account of David and Goliath. I began reading the Bible in my early 20’s and was in wonder at this story. I was intrigued at the absolute loyalty that a young man, perhaps still in the teens, had towards God. The words that David spoke to the giant, Goliath inspired me.

David stands up for the honor of God. He shows little to no fear only true loyalty to God:

  • David asked the men … “who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?” . . .  Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 1 Samuel 17:26 and 45

God Prepared David
As I read the account of David’s life (1 Samuel 16 to 1 Kings 2; 1 Chronicles 2-29), and see his heart for God revealed in the Psalms, I have come to realize that God prepared David to meet and overcome the giant, Goliath.

David is known by the people as a man “who the Lord is with.” He is characterized as someone who walks with God. I don’t know how people in those days knew of the faith of a shepherd out in the countryside, but they did! David’s faith impressed and influenced people. People knew of his faith, even before he took a public stand to battle Goliath.

  • “I have seen a son of Jesse of Bethlehem who knows how to play the lyre. He is a brave man and a warrior. He speaks well and is a fine-looking man, and the Lord is with him.” 1 Samuel 16:18

The Preparation Process
God prepared David to meet the giant Goliath, and that may have been just one step in preparing David to meet the “giant” of the jealousy of King Saul.

God will prepare us in similar ways to face the giants in our life. Giants in our life may take the form of: difficult relationships; financial struggles; physical and mental health issues; various addictions (power, pride, reputation, anxieties, alcohol, or drugs); marital issues; parenting difficulties; character weaknesses, or any seemingly insurmountable problem that harasses us or overwhelms us. Such are the giants in our life.

Preparing to meet a giant is not an event of the moment, but it is a process that occurs overtime in our walk with God. Let’s look at some of the ways God prepared David to meet Goliath.

Worshiping God prepares us to meet our giants. Worship implies priority and value. What or who we worship becomes the center of our life – taking first place whether we realize it or not.

David was a true “worshiper” of God. He ascribed great value to God. David’s heart continually longed for God. His heart was focused on being close to God. David loved God with his whole heart. He freely praised God and expressed his longing to be with God.

Reverence, adoration, esteem, devotion, absolute passion, praise, and treasure, are words that characterize David’s relationship with God. What words describe your relationship with God?

David longed to be in association with God, in God’s presence. He yearned after God, even after his sin, David sought to renew his closeness with God, Psalm 51.

The passages below exemplify David as a faithful worshiper of God.

  • You are my God. Earnestly I seek You; my soul thirsts for You. My body yearns for You in a dry and weary land without water.  Psalm 63:1 BSB
  • One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple. Psalm 27:4
  • I stretch out my hands to You; my soul thirsts for You, as in a parched land. Psalm 143:6
  • Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name! Psalm 103:1
  • I will fervently thank the Lord with my mouth; I will praise Him in the presence of many. Psalm 109:30
  • Cast me not away from Your presence, and take not Your Holy Spirit from me. Psalm 51:11

Dependence on God prepares us to meet our giants. When we believe that God is near and that He answers when we call on Him, we will be prepared to meet the giants in our lives.

David’s prayer life reveals his continual dependence on God. He cries out to God concerning his relationships and all of the circumstances that distress him. He hides in God and uses his faith in God as a shield. He is not too proud to cry out to God.  We see him regularly praying to God and calling out to God in all circumstances.

  • But You, LORD, are a shield around me, my glory, and the One who lifts up my head. I cry aloud to the LORD, and He answers me from His holy mountain. Psalm 3:3-4
  • This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him and saved him out of all his troubles. Psalm 34:6
  • Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer.From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. Psalm 61:1-2
  • Listen to my prayer, O God, do not ignore my plea; hear me and answer me. My thoughts trouble me and I am distraught. Psalm 55:1-2
  • I cry aloud to the LORD; I lift up my voice to the LORD for mercy. I pour out before him my complaint; before him I tell my trouble. When my spirit grows faint within me, it is you who watch over my way. Psalm 142:1-3a

As you read verses in the various Psalms of David, you get a sense of authentic passionate expressions of dependence on God.

David was close to God, believed God was with him, and depended on God. So, when the time came David could stand boldly before the giant.

A Pause to Reflect
Worshiping God and depending on God are two of the avenues through which God prepares us to face the giants in our life. This process that prepares us to face giants is born of a living relationship with God, and has a cyclical effect.

The more we worship and reverence God, the more we experience His power and loving care in our life which leads us to increased trust and dependence on God which leads us to a deeper intention to honor God. These interactions with God form the foundation of being able to face the giants in our life. Part 2 of this article will explore truth and experience as part of the preparation process.

Here are some final questions to help you to reflect on your status as a worshiper of God and one who depends on God:

  • Am I a true worshiper of God, or a “good” church member?
  • What would my daily life look like if I truly worshiped God?
  • Would my friends characterize my relationship with God by the words “yearning and longing for” or “hungering” for God and His righteousness?
  • How do I use my “relationship” with God, or my “practice of religion” to honor myself?
  • How has my worship of God increased my faith?
  • Do I depend on God at all times or only when I am in a situation that I cannot handle?
  • What is a time that I depended on God in prayer and the result lead me to worship God?

Intimacy with God: The God Who Is Near

“Am I a God who is near” declares the Lord, “and not a God far off?  Can a man hide himself in hiding places so I do not see him?” declares the Lord. “Do I not fill the heavens and the earth?” declares the Lord. Jeremiah 23:23-24

 In Jeremiah 23:23, God is addressing Israel telling them that He is the God who is near and the God who is far away, in other words, He is  everywhere and aware of all we are doing. In context, it is a rhetorical question. God is asking Israel if they know the fact that He is every where. In truth, He is so close that He knows their hearts. They think God is not near them and therefore He does not know what they are doing and thinking. 

What does it mean?
God is the God who is near.  The phrase is “miq-qarob ha elohe” or “Elohei Mikkarov” is translated  “the God who is nearby.”

The word “qarob” is an adjective and means near, and carries shades of meanings such as: nearby, drawing near; allied; approachable; and ready at hand. As we search through various lexicons we see it carries the meaning of God being near us; His presence being with us; and His desire for an intimate relationship with us. It also indicates our ability to draw near to God.

 In other instances it implies a relationship in which there is an affinity between two people, and an intimacy in their knowing one another. 

“Elohei Miq-qarob/Mikkarov” describes a truth about God’s character and the intentions of God towards us. The truth this name emphasizes is that God is always near us ready to draw to Him. He is nearby us, therefore He knows about us and the happenings in our life. The context of this title for God in Jeremiah 23 indicates that God is near and knows the thoughts and intents of our hearts.  Such knowledge is not meant to threaten us but to provide security.

Truths that Confirm God Is Near
The truth that God is near; is present; is approachable, and infact, desires to be close to us is attested to in other passages. These other passages describe in detail characteristics of this nearness.

  •  The nearness of God is akin to the very source of our life, Acts 17:26-28.
    And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their pre-appointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Himthough He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and have our being …”
  • The nearness of God is a safe refuge and a help in times of trouble, Psalm 46:1. The word for help in this verse is “ezrah” meaning succor; a suitable help; a strong support.
    God’s intent towards us is to help, to support, to provide for us.
    “God is our refuge and strength an ever present help in the times of trouble.”(BSB)
  •  The nearness of God means God is always with us, Psalm 139: 7-12.  He guides, he leads. He is with us in the dark times. He is with us even when we want to run away from Him or hide from Him.
    “Where can I go from your Spirit?Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, ‘Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,’ even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.”
  • In the nearness of God we can see His great wonders, Psalm 75:1. As I move closer to God in vulnerable faith, my eyes are open to see more of Him and His wonders. In the intimacy of my relationship with God He uses His power to help me, and He works wonders within me and my life.
    “We give thanks to You, O God; we give thanks, for Your name is near. The people declare Your wondrous works.”
  • The nearness of God is directly connected to calling on God with a firm or true faith, Psalm 145:18
    “The LORD is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth.”

 Truth in this verse is defined as firmness in faith, a faithfulness. In order to be close to God, to have that intimate connection, I have to firmly believe that God will answer me when I call on Him. This truth is echoed in James 1:5-6 and Hebrews 11:6.

Do I truly believe that God is near and will help me? Is my faith such that I am open to His helping me even though His answer  may not meet my expectations? In other words do I fully trust the God who is near, who knows my thoughts, feelings and needs? Do I trust Him to do what is right and best for me?
 

Do I want to be near God?
The truth we learn from some of these passages in the Old Testament is that God is near to us. God desires that intimate connection to us and reaches out to us through time and space to bring about the possibility of our being intimately connected to God.

Immanuel, God in the flesh, has come to make intimacy with God a reality. We see this truth throughout the New Testament. Ephesians 2:13 demonstrates how this intimacy with God can happen.

  • “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

We are encouraged to draw near to God through Jesus, Hebrews 10:21-22 and James 4:8

  • “… and since we have a great priest over the house of God,let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.” Hebrews 10:21-22
  • “Come near to God, and God will come near to you. You are sinners. So clean sin out of your lives. You are trying to follow God and the world at the same time. Make your thinking pure.” James 4:8 (ICB)

It challenges me to realize that the God who creates and sustains all life; the God who: divided the Red Sea; walked on water; gave sight to the blind; healed the leper, and raised the dead, wants to be close to me. The question is do I want to be close to God? Am I willing to seek His face, to seek His presence in my life every day?

Prayer Response: Pray that God will teach you how to be close to Him; how to go deeper and have an intimate relationship with Him.

Intimacy with God: The Lord of Hosts and You

Intimacy with God involves knowing Him deeply and personally. Such intimacy begins in knowing about the character and nature of God in his Word, in creation and in our life experience with God.

Reading the scriptures will help us grow in knowing God, understanding his character and interactions with man. How we take those truths into our heart and use them in our daily interactions with God helps us to develop intimacy with God.

I have found in my studies that the names God gives himself are an important way God reveals himself to us.

Names Make Intimate Connections
In John 10:3, we read that Jesus knows his sheep by name.
The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.

Jesus knows the sheep, so he calls each one by a name. They listen and follow him. There is a trusting relationship between them. A little further on in verse 10, Jesus explains the deeper nature of this relationship with his sheep. It is akin to Jesus’ relationship with the Father. They are so close and intimate that they are one (John 10:30).

Jesus has plans for us to get even closer to Him. In John 17:21-23, Jesus prays that we will be one with each other and one in him, as he and the Father are one.

I love the fact that Jesus does not treat me in a generic way, or just as part of a group, but he knows me by name.  Jesus calls each of us by name, not only that but he has made plans to draw us closer to Him. These truths bring a sense of intimacy into the relationship.

If God knows our names and we feel a sense of closeness, we can grow even more in our intimacy with God by knowing His names. In sharing his names with us God is opening up knowledge of himself to us. In reality, God is inviting us into intimacy with him.

In revealing his names, God is revealing deep truths about his nature and character, and who he is in relation to us. We respond to God’s intimate overture to us by believing the truths he reveals about his self, and then we use those truths as we meet the circumstances in our live. In a sense, we live out the character of God in our lives.

The LORD of Hosts
One of the names God reveals to us is, LORD Sabaoth translated LORD of hosts,
“You show steadfast love to thousands … O great and mighty God, whose name is the
Lord of hosts
…”
Jeremiah 32:18

The wordtsaba” is translated several ways. It means army, or host (as in a large organized army). It refers to the angelic armies of God. It is a war term and is often used in association with various battles and struggles. The prophets use this name of God often in their writings.

A clear reference to spiritual/physical warfare and the LORD of hosts is found in Isaiah 13:4b-5.
“The Lord of hosts (tsaba) is mustering a host/army (tsaba) for battle. They come from a distant land, from the end of the heavens, the Lord and the weapons of his indignation, to destroy the whole land.”

It is used to indicate God’s supreme and unlimited power, authority and judgment. (On occasion it is used to refer to the actual physical heavenly bodies of the sun, moon and stars).

Here are a few of the passages using the word “tsaba.” (The name LORD Sabaoth is used 261 in the Old Testament).

  •  “When Joshua was by Jericho, he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing before him with his drawn sword in his hand. And Joshua went to him and said to him, “Are you for us, or for our adversaries?” And he said, “No; but I am the commander of the army (tsaba) of the Lord. Now I have come.” Joshua 5:13-14
  • “Micaiah continued, “Therefore hear the word of the LORD: I saw the LORD sitting on his throne with all the host (tsaba) of heaven standing on his right and on his left…”
    2 Chronicles 18:18
  • “Praise him, all his angels; praise him, all his hosts (tsaba)!” Psalm 148:2
  • “Our Redeemer—the LORD of hosts (tsaba) is his name— is the Holy One of Israel.”    Isaiah 47:4

Intimacy in Real Life – A Shepherd Boy and the LORD of Hosts
David knew God’s name – LORD Sabaoth. This name revealed to David that God is almighty and sovereign over all. Armed with this knowledge about God, David was confident that God was with him as he approached Goliath.

David refers to God as the Lord of Hosts as he faces off with Goliath. As David moves towards Goliath He says that he is coming to Goliath in the name of the Lord of hosts.

“Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.” 1 Samuel 17:45

Goliath could not see any “hosts” of God, so he laughed at and scorned David. All he saw was an army hiding in fear, but David knew who God is, David knew God’s name –LORD/Yahweh Sabaoth.

David believes that God truly has an army of angels. David calls upon LORD Sabaoth, and claims His power to help him in the battle.

David incorporated the truth he learned in intimate times with God and from his past experience with God, therefore, he was able to depend on God’s all mighty power as he stepped up to face Goliath. This is an example of how intimate knowledge of God became a part of real life. As a result of fighting Goliath with God, David grew in faith and intimacy with God.

A Woman in Conflict and the Lord of Hosts
As I read about the word “tsaba” in scriptures I came across the story of Hannah. The scriptures describe Hannah as a woman sorely troubled.

In 1 Samuel 1:1-20,  we read of this struggle within Hannah’s heart and in her relationship with Peninnah, the other wife of Hannah’s husband.  Hannah was grieved because she was barren; and she was grieved, even vexed, by the taunting of Peninnah (Elkanah’s other wife) who had children.

  • “And her (Hannah’s) rival used to provoke her grievously to irritate her, because the Lord had closed her womb.  So it went on year by year. As often as she went up to the house of the Lord, she used to provoke her.” 1 Samuel 1:6-7

In her struggles regarding both barrenness and the taunts of this other woman, we read that Hannah prays to God.  In her prayers, Hannah does not address God as Merciful Father, or Compassionate God as one might think, but rather because of her struggles she uses the war reference to God. Hannah addresses God as “LORD Sabaoth” in her prayer.

“After they had eaten and drunk in Shiloh, Hannah rose. Now Eli the priest was sitting on the seat beside the doorpost of the temple of the Lord. She was deeply distressed and prayed to the Lord and wept bitterly. And she vowed a vow and said, “O Lord of hosts, if you will indeed look on the affliction of your servant and remember me and not forget your servant, but will give to your servant a son, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life…”1 Sam.1:7-11

This is amazing. Hannah knew God’s name “LORD of hosts.” She understood the meaning and believed the truth of it. From this knowledge and belief Hannah intimately pours out her heart about her conflict, her battle, to the LORD of Hosts.

The LORD of Hosts and You
Knowing God as “LORD Sabaoth or Lord of hosts” gives me confidence and security.
I can call upon my Father who is Yahweh/LORD of the angel armies, and feel secure as I battle against sin and darkness in my life. With this knowledge of God born of intimacy I lean on LORD Sabaoth in conflicts with others. As He helps me conquer fearsome and intimidating circumstances, or darkness in my life, I grow deeper in my closeness with God.

The truths that are revealed by God in His Word to me are truths that cause me to have a deeper connection to Him, a deeper intimacy with Him as I engage in life.

Intimacy with God is not an ethereal experience, or a continuous run of warm fuzzy feelings. It involves knowing truths about God, believing them, and living out your daily life.

Intimacy with God is a truth: it is a feeling; but also it is an action we take as we depend on God. David did this as he approached Goliath in the name of LORD Sabaoth. Hannah did this as she cried out to LORD Sabaoth for help in her struggle.

What about you and LORD Sabaoth? What will He do in your life?

Intimate Names

Names are meaningful and special. Names can be very visionary, in that they seem to characterize a specific quality or goal of an individual’s life. For example, I know a couple who named their daughter Mercy, and she grew up to become a most compassionate nurse and caregiver.

God has a thing for names!
In scripture God uses His name(s) to convey meaning and to help us understand Him.  Knowing the names of God provides a deeper knowledge of Him, an intimate connection. In John 10:3, 14, Jesus clarifies His deep personal relationship with His sheep (followers) through His use of their names.

“The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls His own sheep by name and leads them out. … I know my sheep and my sheep know me—“John 10:3, 14

Names establish connection. Knowing God by name brings about trust in His character and thus a deeper intimacy with God. The names used of God and by God for Himself, reveal His character and ways of interacting with and on behalf of us. The more we know God, the deeper our intimacy with Him will become. In Psalm 9:10, the Psalmist declares that knowing God’s name(s) leads to trust in God.

“The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.
Those who know your name trust in you,
 for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.”

In Psalm 91:14, we see a similar connection with one of God’s names. We see this connection that the believer holds fast to God because he knows God’s name, and God responds protection and deliverance,

“Because he holds fast to Me in love, I will deliver him; I will protect him, because he knows My name. Ps. 91:14 (ESV)

God’s nature and character is represented in His names and titles. Some of these names include: Champion, Refuge, Savior, Deliverer, Rock, Fortress, High Tower, King of Glory, the Most High God, God Almighty, the Lord of Hosts, and so on.

Addressing God Intimately
The language used in the Psalms provides a window into the intimacy that can exist between God and man.  What are some of the ways psalmists addressed and referred to God?

God, the One Enthroned on High
In Psalm 113:5-8, we see God’s name expanded to indicate His superlatively high, majestic position above man.

“Who is like the LORD our God, the One enthroned on high? He humbles Himself to behold the heavens and the earth. He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the dump
to seat them with nobles, with the princes of His people.”

We get a deeper understanding of God when we understand His position as “the One enthroned on high,” meaning God is Sovereign Lord overall. This God who is Sovereign and Most High God bends humbly towards us who are poor and lowly. He bends down and brings us up.

Psalm 18:35 provides a clear and accurate picture of this when the psalmist says:

  • “You have given me the shield of Your salvation; Your right hand upholds me, and Your humility exalts me.” HCSB
  • “Then You give me the shield of Your salvation. Your right hand sustains me, and You stoop down to lift me up.” Ps. 18:35 EHV

God did this for you and me.  I am a sinner and of lowly heritage, but I have been lifted up out of my sin and brought near to God, through the sacrifice of Jesus, and He has made me a priest unto Him and a member of His royal family.

  • “…remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ Ephesians 2:12-13 
  • “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, to proclaim the virtues of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” 1 Peter 2:9.

God, the One Enthroned on High gives us a place in His presence, an identity and a purpose!

God, the Righteous Judge
In Psalm 7 and Psalm 50, God is referred to as the Righteous God, the Righteous Judge and the God of Justice.

  • “Put an end to the evil of the wicked, but establish the righteous, O Righteous God who searches hearts and minds…. God is a righteous judge and a God who feels indignation each day.” Psalm 7:9, 11  BSB
  • “And the heavens proclaim his righteousness, for he is a God of justice.” Psalm 50:6

No Warm Fuzzies
The terms judge and justice do not make me feel all warm and fuzzy, in fact I feel insecure at the mention of such terms. Yet, if I understand the truth in the name of God as theRighteous Judge,” I can have a deeper feeling of trust and appreciation for God.

Justice and Security?
The reason for this trust and thanksgiving is Jesus.  God worked out His righteous judgement in Jesus. Romans 8:4 states that God met the just requirement of His law in Jesus. I broke God’s law, many times through my sin. In the court of God, I am guilty and deserve the consequence of that guilt which is death, separation from God.

Yet God arranged for the penalty due me to be paid in Jesus through Him being the sin offering for me. God arranged payment of the penalty through the shedding of Jesus’ blood. Jesus then offered his blood as the atonement for my sins which canceled the debt and the penalty standing against me.

“For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful man, as an offering for sin. He thus condemned sin in the flesh, so that the righteous standard of the law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” Romans 8:3-4 BSB (See Romans 3:25-26)

God fulfilled requirement of His law in the sacrifice of His Son. Justice  has been served, but not to me, but rather to the Son of God for me. So, I can come before the Righteous Judge with confidence and love because of the atoning sacrifice of Jesus.

  • “When you were dead in your trespasses and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our trespasses, having canceled the debt ascribed to us in the decrees that stood against us. He took it away, nailing it to the cross!”  Col. 2:13-14 
  • “For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ. 2 Cor. 5:21

Know God’s Names to Develop Intimacy
I (we) can develop a greater sense of intimacy with God when we know the names and titles by which God is called. These names open up my mind to understand who God is and what He has done for me, while at the same time helping me see who I am before God. When I see myself in deep need of God, Who He is, and what He has done for me, then I am more real with Him and move deeper into Him.

As you read and study the Bible, look for God’s names. What do they tell you about Who He is and how He interacts with you?

Intimacy and Asking

Intimacy and Asking by Lory Demshar
God has invited us into a very personal relationship with Him. In truth He not only invited us, but planned and prepared how I can have this deeply intimate fellowship with Him. The atoning sacrifice of Jesus is the foundation of this invitation and our faith in Him is our R.S.V.P to God’s invitation.

In a previous blog we looked at some Psalms to learn what intimacy sounds like.

We read words that describe intimacy such as longing for; yearning; hungering and thirsting for and being consumed with God.

In this blog I want to look at questions, deep personal questions that reveal the agony of the soul and a vulnerable intimacy that we dare to have with God.

Questions Reveal Intimacy
As we read through the Psalms we see that the psalmists asked some, what I would call, “gutsy” questions. Yet these questions reveal an understanding of a personal relationship with God. Such questions show vulnerability, an ability to pour out our weakness, our fear, our confusion and our pain to God.

Such questions spring from a faith in God, a trust in His openness to us; His care and concern for us, and His involvement in each one of our lives.

These questions are so emotionally revealing that at times they sound more like a demand for an answer, and infact sometimes are just that. To me these questions imply that only someone who knows God deeply can risk being that intimate.

Urgent Intimate Questions
Look at some of the questions that the psalmist felt at ease asking God.

In Psalm 13:1-2, David, in his agonizing, asks these questions of God.
“How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart?  How long will my enemy triumph over me?

In two relatively short verses David puts forth 5 questions that reveal the very personal, intimate relationship he has with God.

David is asking God –Yahweh, the great almighty eternal God who is the source of all life and who has all power, “How long is this difficult situation going to go on? How long will You, God let this happen?” This is intimate, gutsy.

David is so vulnerable that in the next question he tells God, “I feel like you have forgotten me. You have gone off and left me in this difficulty alone. Where are You my God, my Friend, my Helper?”

David gets gut level open and asks God, “Are You hiding Your face from me? Have You turned Your back on me? Do you not want to be in a relationship with me?”

David is ratcheting up in his vulnerable faith and is telling God that this difficulty is too heavy for him to bear alone. It is on his mind day and night. He is sick with sorrow about this. He is wrestling about what to do and why it is happening. Perhaps David is sleepless and restless and pacing and calling out to God, being vulnerable and asking question after question demanding an answer.

The questions David asks God in Psalm 13 are an example of intimacy with God.

Other Questions
As we read through the Psalms we see many examples of such intimacy revealed in questions. Read and reflect on the intimacy with God that these questions imply.

  • “Why, Lord, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?” Psalm 10:1
  • “Will the Lord reject forever? Will he never show his favor again? Has his unfailing love vanished forever?  Has his promise failed for all time?  Has God forgotten to be merciful? Has he in anger withheld his compassion?” Psalm 77:7-9
  • “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from my cries of anguish?” Psalm 22:1-2 (A Messianic saying, yet a question David asked).
  • “… save me because of your unfailing love.  Among the dead no one proclaims your name. Who praises you from the grave?” Psalm 6:4b-5

What do you ask God?
As I read through these psalms and look at the events in the psalmist’s life I am drawn to the intimacy that the psalmist had with God.

Do I trust God enough to ask my own very vulnerable questions? Do I dare to be that personal with God? It seems to me that God is calling us to this very intimacy.

I encourage you to read through the Psalms and look at the questions the psalmists asked. Begin to become more personal with God, ask Him the questions you have on your heart.

 

 

Are You Intimate with God?

A Language of Intimacy
Although the term “intimacy with God” has become a buzz word in many religious circles, it is a true and real experience that God has opened to us. Jesus references this intimacy several times in passages such as,  John 14:23 and Rev. 3:20.

  • “Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word. Then my Father will love him, and We will go to him and make our home within him.”  John 14:23 ISV
  • “Listen! I am standing at the door and knocking! If anyone hears my voice and opens the door I will come into his home and share a meal with him, and he with Me.” Rev. 3:20 NET

What can be more intimate than God making His home in us; or God having dinner time fellowship with us? Intimacy implies a relationship so close, so personal, and so vulnerable that the two people are as one. It is like a “melding into God;” or like “lodging” within God.

The expression “intimacy” when applied to God and us seems too personal, too private, well, almost too intimate to believe. Yet that is exactly what God calls us into. I marvel at the thought of having a personal relationship with God, the God who creates and sustains all life.

Jesus – Came from Intimacy
Jesus is the perfect example of an intimate relationship with God. John 1:18 tells us that Jesus dwelt in the “bosom of the Father.”  

  • “No one has ever yet seen God. The only begotten God, the One being in the bosom of the Father, He has made Him” John 1:18 (BSB)

“Bosom” is a term of intimacy. Being “in the bosom” is up close and personal, so close it is like being melded with another. It is being lodged next to and held close to the heart. Jesus lived in the bosom of the Father, the place where deep love and intimate truths are exchanged.

This thought of “bosom intimacy” is revealed in other words of Jesus.

  • “I and the Father are one.” John 10:30
  • “Whoever has seen Me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me?” John 14:9b-10a
  • “…that all of them may be one, Father, just as You are in Me and I am in You. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent Me.” John 17:21

Jesus’ intimacy, His “bosom” relationship with God made Him able to reveal God’s will and character to us. His “bosom” closeness made Him able to trust the Father, as well as surrender to and become obedient to the will of the Father.

Intimacy Sounds Like . . . 
A good place to learn about this intimate relationship is in the Psalms. King David is described in the scriptures as a man after God’s own heart, a good example of a “bosom” friendship.  The Psalms, those of David and others, open a portal for us to view intimacy with God. We will hear words like: longing, yearning, fainting, languishing, gazing, hungering, thirsting, panting and more.

Intimate “Speak”
One thing that is striking and revealing in David’s writings is the language he uses to express his feelings for God. Let’s look at some these expressions.

Longing
I remember the days of old; I meditate on all Your doings; I muse on the work of Your hands. I stretch out my hands to You; My soul longs for You, as a parched land. Answer me quickly, O Lord, my spirit fails; do not hide Your face from me, or I will become like those who go down to the pit. Ps. 143:5-7 (NASB)

David speaks intimately to God, boldly declaring his longing for God, and almost demanding that God pay attention to him.

The word for “long” in this passage is “ayeph.” It means “to long for.” This is not just an emotional “hankering” for God, but rather it is a deep internal soul yearning that involves mind, heart and body. The definition implies a physical longing that is akin to fainting with exhaustion; languishing from the toil of earnestly seeking for the closeness of God; a longing for God to insert Himself in David’s life; a longing to hear from God and see Him act in his life.

This longing is so physical that it involves “stretching his hands out” for God, perhaps like a child reaching up to be held close, comforted and  loved. Also, David longs so intensely that his “spirit fails” if God does not respond.

In Psalm 84:2 David expresses this same type of longing: “My soul longs yes, faints for the courts of the Lord; my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God.”

Even though the word “long” in this verse comes from a different Hebrew word it implies a longing that is a pining after the presence of God, and it includes a physical effect such as turning pale from the effort of longing. Being in a bosom relationship with God produces a physical response of the heart and flesh singing.

Thirsting and Panting
David’s words in Psalm 42:1-2 describe what intimacy with God sounds like and looks like.

  •  As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?”

Here, we see that intimacy pants and thirsts for God. The term pant (arag) is rich with meaning. It expresses a strong desire; a bent, or intent to be with God as a deer would search out water. Also, it is defined as a breathe or a deep sigh, perhaps like a deer bleating or crying out after water. I have to ask myself: Do I cry out for more closeness with God? Do I eagerly anticipate being in His presence? Do I practice His presence daily, hourly in my life?

In studying about this, I found that deer never roam far from a water source, even if it is but a puddle on the ground. It is interesting that David uses this imagery to describe his connection to God. In other words even though he has a relationship with God and is close with Him, David desires and seeks to be connected to God more and more deeply.

Consumed in God
There are numerous expressions of intimacy in the Psalms. Intimacy with God cannot just be a buzz word or a hot topic in our “spiritual” conversations. It is our actual living relationship with God that involves our whole life not just our “practice” of religion, or our academic study of the Bible.

Take time to read through the psalms and look for the consuming passion of the psalmist’s intimacy with God. Here are a few:

  • “Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Psalm 73:25 NIV (Asaph)
  • One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord  all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.” Ps. 27:4 NIV
  • “For better is one day in Your courts than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than to dwell in the tents of the wicked.” Ps. 84:10
  • “Lord, I love the house where you live, the place where your glory dwells.” Ps. 26:8

Reflect on Your Intimacy
As I study about the intimacy revealed in the Psalms, I cannot help but reflect on my relationship with God. Am I living in my relationship with God, “supping” with Him, or merely practicing a nice little religion that makes me feel spiritually secure?

Do the words longing, yearning, hungering, thirsting, or languishing for, describe my relationship with God? Do I seek to take time to “gaze” on the beauty of the Lord? Do I seek His face? Am I consumed in Him or am I too preoccupied with my own identity and too involved in my own pursuits and “standing” among men? What words describe my intimacy with God?

Cross Words

Easter is a time when many remember the passion of Jesus Christ. In “Cross Thoughts,” a previous blog, we meditated on the truth that in the crucifixion,  Jesus “tasted death” for each of us. He was separated from God on our behalf so that we can have a relationship to God.

There are many words associated with the cross of Jesus, such as ransom, redemption, atonement, reconciled and sacrifice. These words enhance our understanding of the purpose and the value of the death of Jesus. Let’s look at the word “ransom.”

Ransom – Redemption
The word ransom in the New Testament is the word lytron. It refers to the money used to manumit or free slaves. Such money has been referred to as the “liberty price,” the cost of freeing another from bondage.

The word ransom is used several times in the New Testament in reference to the sacrifice of Jesus.

In some of these passages the word for ransom is translated redeem/redemption (apolytrosis) coming from the same root as ransom and carries the same meaning of providing release or freedom by paying a ransom.

“Ransom” is also associated with kidnapping. In the case of kidnapping or hostage taking the ransom involves some type of high stakes payment in order to release those held captive. This concept is illustrated in Colossians 1:13-14.
“For He has rescued/delivered us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son He loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”

Ransom has a special meaning when the New Testament writers apply it to the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. The ransom Jesus paid frees us from the bondage of sin and death.
“…and from Jesus Christ. He is the faithful witness to these things, the first to rise from the dead, and the ruler of all the kings of the world. All glory to him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by shedding His blood for us. NLT Rev. 1:5

Jesus’ Mission
Jesus became a man for the specific purpose of be the ransom payment for us.
“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45

For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus,  who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time. 1 Tim. 2:5-6

A Ransom of Blood
In the sacrifice of Jesus, the currency of the ransom payment is His blood.
“. . . it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed (ransomed) from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.” 1 Peter 1:18-19

In Him (Jesus) we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace …” NASB  Eph.1:7

“With His own blood—not the blood of goats and calves—He entered the Most Holy Place once for all time and secured our redemption forever…” NLT Heb. 9:12

A Complete Ransom
The ransom that Jesus paid for us secures eternal redemption. It is a complete ransom and we do not have to continuing paying.

This truth is revealed in John 19:30. Among the last words of Jesus on the cross is the statement, “It is finished.” This phrase is translated as: it is completed; it is accomplished, and it is paid.

I believe that in this statement Jesus is saying His mission to save mankind was completed; accomplished, and through His atoning blood the debt of our sin was paid in full.
“When He had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.” John 19:30

This thought of the saving work of Jesus being completed or paid in full is echoed in passages like Hebrews 9:12 and 7:27 with the truth of Jesus securing eternal redemption.

  • “…He entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption.” Hebrews 912
  • “Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself.” Hebrews 7:27

Take It Deeper – Make It Personal
Taking time to meditate on words associated with the cross of Christ is more than a religious exercise. When meditating on the concept of ransom it provided me with a clear picture of where I was, and my need for divine intervention.

I was moving along through my life relatively oblivious to the fact that I was in the bondage of sin. I relegated any character struggles I had to weak habit formation rather than bondage or enslavement.

Furthermore, I had no idea I had been taken captive and actually had been living in the kingdom of darkness.

Truth is always enlightening and liberating. Taking time to study and meditate on the concept of being ransomed by Jesus gives me a greater appreciation for the sacrifice of Jesus. I can worship Him and give Him thanks in truth and spirit, because His sacrifice is more real to me. I do not question the security of my salvation because I see it is anchored in Jesus’ sacrifice, not my performance.

I encourage you to do study some of the words associated with the cross, and take tome to write down how it encourages and strengthens your faith.

Cross Thoughts

Growing up, my family celebrated the secular and the religious aspects of the Easter holiday. It was a special time with new outfits, baskets of candy treats and a special meal. However, there was also much focus on the spiritual aspect of the holiday which is the crucifixion, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus.  Weeks prior to this holiday we spent much time in religious services reflecting on the crucifixion of Jesus.

It wasn’t until I started reading and studying the Bible that I began to understand the sacrifice of Jesus in a deeper way. The sacrifice of Jesus is not merely a series of events that happened to Jesus such as: Judas’ betrayal of Jesus; the trial before Pilate; the scourging: the carrying of the cross and so on, but it is the singular most powerful intervention of God in the history of mankind.

Presented in this blog are some thoughts about the sacrifice of Jesus for your reflection.

Jesus Tasted Death for Us
In the passage of Hebrews 2:9, an unusual expression is used in describing Jesus. The writer says, “he might taste death for everyone.”
“But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. Hebrews 2:9

The expression taste death for everyone means Jesus “experienced” death; Jesus took it into himself on behalf of each of us.

Jesus “tasted death” in that His physical body died and was buried, but also, He died in a spiritual sense meaning Jesus experienced separation from God as he bore our sins on His body.

When dying on the cross Jesus is recorded to have said,” my God, my God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Matt. 27:46) This statement is taken as an indication that Jesus was separated from the Father.

It Is a Personal Thing
I never realized that I was separated from God” because of my sin. After all, I went to church frequently and even participated in special services. I thought about God regularly, and tried to be good so I thought “God and me were OK.”  Then I read a few scriptures that got my attention:

  • Romans 3:23 – “all have sinned and fallen short of the standard of God;”
  • Romans 6:23 – “for the wages of sin is death,”
  • Isaiah 59:2 – “your sins have separated you from God,” and
  • 1 Peter 2:24 – “Christ carried our sins in his body on the cross so that freed from our sins, we could live a life that has God’s approval. His wounds have healed you.”

I took these passages personally understanding that Jesus tasted death for me, that He experienced separation from God for me so that I did not have to be separated from Him.

This brought a whole new valuing of the cross of Jesus to me. The crucifixion of Jesus was no longer just a series of sad events that happened to Jesus, but it is a powerful act of God that impacts me. Through the sacrifice of Jesus my “religion” became a genuine “relationship” with God.

Take Time to Reflect
As you celebrate Easter this year take some time to think about what the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, the Son of God, means to you. Some other passages to enrich your meditation are:

Isaiah 53:5 – “But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.”

Romans 3:23-25 –  “… for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith.”

2 Cor. 5:21 – “ God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

Romans 4:25 – “He was delivered over to death for our trespasses and was raised to life for our justification.”

1 John 2:1-2 – “My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father – Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.”

1 John 4:10 – “And love consists in this: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”

Make it personal. Get in touch with what separates you from God, and then look to the cross!

The God Who Prays

Here’s a thought: “Today, Jesus prays for you!” Wait a minute, what?
Yes, today, Jesus prays for you! It is true. Hebrews 7:25 says, “He (Jesus) always lives to make intercession for us.”

“Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.” Hebrews 7:25

So seriously, Jesus, King of Kings and Lord of Lords is praying for you. Yes, the same Jesus, who is described in Phil. 2:9-10 as “…being exalted on high by God so that at the name of Jesus every knee in heaven and on earth and under the earth will bow, and every tongue will acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord…,” is interceding to the Father for you and me.

To make it even more incredible, Jesus’ intercession on our behalf seems to be part of His saving work on our behalf. Heb. 7:25 says, “He is able to save to the uttermost (completely; to the final end/ to the uttermost limit) those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for us.”

Intercessor
Intercession is an act of love. It is, in a sense, an act of humility. Intercession can involve meeting with another person for the explicit purpose of a conversation which can consist of consultation and or supplication on behalf of another.

Actually, intercession involves words like: plead, beseech, entreat, implore and ask. The word intercession as used in scripture generally means to pray to God; to entreat God; to beseech God on behalf of another person.

Moses is an example of someone who interceded on behalf of others. Exodus 32:31-32 is an example of bold yet humble prayer of intercession.

So Moses returned to the Lord and said, “Alas, this people has sinned a great sin. They have made for themselves gods of gold. But now, if you will forgive their sin—but if not, please blot me out of your book that you have written.” Exodus 32:31-32

Hebrews 7:25 provides this picture of Jesus interceding for us. Jesus is beside the throne of God and is pleading with the Father on our behalf. It seems this is a continual occurrence, as “He always lives to make intercession for us.”

Romans 8:34 repeats this very same truth, describing a similar scene: “Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.”

Intercession as Advocacy
The scriptures reveal that Jesus is at the right hand of God interceding for us. 1 John 2:1-2 gives us a better understanding of Jesus intercessory work.

“My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.”

The term advocate adds to our understanding of intercessor.  In general, advocate means help, console, and intercede. More precisely in this verse the term advocate is used in a legal sense. It was used to indicate one who pleads a cause before a judge. Our equivalent today might be a “defense attorney.”

A defense attorney comes alongside a person to plead their cause, to intercede on their behalf before a judge.  Jesus is in heaven, seated at the right hand of God presenting evidence to God on my behalf. Again, we see that Jesus’ advocacy is not a one time thing, but rather it is a continuous process. The word “have” in the phrase “we have an advocate with the Father” is a present tense indicating a continuous action!

Intercession Brings Hope
Jesus’ intercession, advocacy or prayers on our behalf are based on His atoning work on the cross (1 John 2:2), and on His identity as the eternal High Priest (Hebrews 7:23-27).

What exactly is Jesus saying to the Father when He intercedes?  Is He providing His evidence on our side when Satan comes to accuse us? Is He praying a prayer for unity as He prayed in John 17? Is He praying for us to be daily sustained by the hand of God? I do not know, but I know it is revealed in the New Testament scriptures three times that Jesus intercedes and prays for us.

This truth brings me hope. It gives me hope for all those impossible situations I have in my life. It gives me hope for those I love who seem to be so far away from God. It gives me hope that I am not in this alone, and that there is a spiritual power greater than me involved in my life. It gives me hope that no matter how I have messed up – Jesus is speaking on my behalf before the throne of God.

You have heard the saying that it is good to have friends in high places. As believers in God and Jesus, we have a Friend in high places – Jesus. In fact, He is seated at the right hand of God. Let the truth of Jesus, who He is and what He has done and continues to do for us, give you hope.

                                                 **********************

“For if, while we were God’s enemies,
we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son,
how much more, having been reconciled,
shall we be saved through his life!  Not only is this so,
but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom
we have now received reconciliation.” Romans 5:10-11