Mary’s Lineage

Was Mary a direct descendant of David?

Mary’s lineage has long been disputed. Some say she’s a direct descendant of David, because Jesus was to be of David’s lineage. Others say that Jesus was a descendant of David because Joseph was of the lineage of David. But Peter says (quoting Psalm 132:11) that Jesus was to come from the fruit of David’s body. And some say Mary was a Levite because she was related to Elizabeth. What’s really going on?

Mary’s Lineage

Hell & Near-death Experiences

Near-death experiences are real. People have them. Do they reveal anything real to us about the after-life?

Scripture talks about David descending into hell. Did he really go there and see what it was like and then come back? Did David have near-death experiences? Can we take stock in our own near-death experiences or those we hear recounted to us by others? Do they reveal God’s truth about heaven and hell to us?

Hell and Near-death Experiences

Psalm 19 – A Psalm About God

Psalm 19 is about God. We can know of HIm through nature and through His holy Word.

In November, I went to the Oregon Coast and beheld the most unbelievable sunset.

It made me think of Romans 1:18-20, where Paul says that everyone is without excuse, because God’s attributes shine through clearly in nature. I think David must have been watching a similar sunset when he wrote this Psalm, because he says about the same thing.

1The heavens declare the glory of God,
   and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
2Day to day pours out speech,
   and night to night reveals knowledge.
3There is no speech, nor are there words,
   whose voice is not heard.
4Their voice goes out through all the earth,
   and their words to the end of the world.

Psalm 19:1-4 (ESV)

We don’t need to physically hear God’s voice thundering out of the sky or see Him levitate someone to believe He’s real. We can look around and know.

The second half of the Psalm talks about the Bible. David didn’t have the entire Bible, but what he did have satisfied him. The Bible spoke to him of God, just like nature spoke to him of God. We have God’s entire Word, so we should never complain. If David found rest for his soul in the limited portion of God’s Word he had available to him, we should find complete and total satisfaction knowing that God’s mysteries have been revealed to us.

David knew that in God’s Word life and contentment could be found. We rely on our “progressive” universities filled with all-wise professors, our enlightened media, and the latest scientific advances for our wisdom. Well, scrap all that crap. God’s Word contains all we need for life and contentment.

7The law of the LORD is perfect,
   reviving the soul;
the testimony of the LORD is sure,
   making wise the simple;
8the precepts of the LORD are right,
   rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the LORD is pure,
   enlightening the eyes;
9the fear of the LORD is clean,
   enduring forever;
the rules of the LORD are true,
   and righteous altogether.
10More to be desired are they than gold,
   even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey
   and drippings of the honeycomb.
11Moreover, by them is your servant warned;
   in keeping them there is great reward.

Psalm 19:7-11 (ESV)

Psalm 18 – My Thoughts

Psalm 18 gives us some insight into David’s thinking.

I find five easy divisions in this Psalm.

  • God is our refuge (Psalm 18:1-3)
  • David tells God his troubles and pleads for help (Psalm 18:4-6
  • God responds to David (Psalm 18:7-19)
  • How God treats the righteous (Psalm 18:20-27)
  • David tells what God has done for him (Psalm 18:28-50)

This Psalm reminds me that God isn’t always peaches and cream. He love us, yes, but He can be destructive, angry, judging.

7Then the earth reeled and rocked;
the foundations also of the mountains trembled
and quaked, because he was angry.
8Smoke went up from his nostrils,
and devouring fire from his mouth;
glowing coals flamed forth from him.
9He bowed the heavens and came down;
(N) thick darkness was under his feet.
10He rode on a cherub and flew;
he came swiftly on the wings of the wind.
11He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him,
thick clouds dark with water.
12Out of the brightness before him
hailstones and coals of fire broke through his clouds.
13The LORD also thundered in the heavens,
and the Most High uttered his voice,
hailstones and coals of fire.
14And he sent out his arrows and scattered them;
he flashed forth lightnings and routed them.
15Then the channels of the sea were seen,
and the foundations of the world were laid bare
at your rebuke, O LORD,
at the blast of the breath of your nostrils.
Psalm 18:7-15

I think I’d rather be on His good side.

On another note, I don’t fully understand how David could say that he was blameless and pure (Psalm 18:20-24), unless he wrote this Psalm before the Bathsheba incident. Maybe David just understood that God’s forgiveness surpasses any sin. Forgiven sin, like an expunged crime, vanishes – never to be remembered.

My favorite verses are 20-27. If we live righteously, we can expect God’s favor. Haughty and crooked people should have no expectation of salvation. As Christians, we should live as David describes in verses 21-23. And then, as we strive to serve God, He makes us righteous (Psalm 18:24), which is something only He can do.

21For I have kept the ways of the LORD,
and have not wickedly departed from my God.
22For all his rules were before me,
and his statutes I did not put away from me.
23I was blameless before him,
and I kept myself from my guilt.
24So the LORD has rewarded me according to my righteousness,
according to the cleanness of my hands in his sight.
Psalm 18:21-24 (ESV)

The rest of this Psalm David rejoices in how he pounds his enemies into dust, and I appreciate him sharing such things, but I’m not sure that we, as Christians, should follow his example in this. If anyone disagrees with me, I’d love to hear about it.

Psalm 16 – We Are Secure

Psalm 16 tells us that when we have troubles, we should seek God before we do anything else.

This Psalm boosts my spirits. Why? Because I have a tendency to worry, to wonder why by bosses speak down to me, to obsess about potential illnesses . . . the list goes on forever.

This Psalm starts by reminding us that when we have troubles, our first line of defense should be God. I tend to yell, bang on things, exercise, sleep – anything to alleviate my frustrations – anything, that is, but go to God. Why? Stupidity, I guess. As my pastor put it this last Sunday, God should always be our first line of defense.

1 Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge.
2 I say to the LORD, “You are my Lord . . .
Psalm 16:1 (ESV)

The Psalm ends with the same type of reminder, with a little different twist. Not only should God be our first line of defense, but in Him we will discover eternal life.

11You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
Psalm 16:11

If we trust God and know Him, He will show us the path of life. David knew this, and Scripture affirms it. God will reveal Himself to us if we seek Him.

21Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.

Having a consistent refuge and access to eternal life seems like a no-brainer to me. Choose life.

Psalm 13 – David Cracks Me Up

Psalm 13 – David trusted God all the time. Do we?

In this Psalm David begs to God to quit ignoring him. He pleads for God’s divine intervention. He despairs at God’s silence. He wonders why his enemies continue to profit while he suffers. I picture David crying, complaining, whining. “God, please! Help me out here! Quit ignoring me! Come on!” I find it easy to relate to his questions, to his seeming doubt.

I think to myself, “Yeah, God! Where are you? Why did it take me five hours to fix a toilet seat today? Why haven’t You been helping me out lately?”

Then I read a bit more and realize that David’s attitude differs from mine in a dramatic way. He still trusts God. He tells God his sorrows, but He never doubts God. He begs for help, for justice, but He still lays all He has at God’s feet.

5 But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
6 I will sing to the LORD, because he has dealt bountifully with me.

God called David a man after His own heart. Why? Because David had a relationship with Him. David called out to Him in times of trouble, but never doubted His omnipotence. David suffered, but didn’t blame God. David also didn’t forget God when life was easy. David knew God; he trusted Him; he stuck with Him through good times and bad. Do we?

Psalm 12

Psalm 12. When you’re depressed, look to God first like David did.

When I first looked at this Psalm, I thought, “Save?” What does David mean? Save him from all the evil ones? Save Israel? Save the faithful? Then I kept reading. Later, the Psalm says that God will give refuge to the poor (verse 5), then David puts himself with them (verse 7). My thought is that David prayed for safety for himself, the poor, and all the righteous in Israel. David sounds depressed, but he handled it well – he prayed.

The way he described the environment reminds me of the world today.

1 Save, O LORD, for the godly one is gone;
for the faithful have vanished from among the children of man.
2 Everyone utters lies to his neighbor;
with flattering lips and a double heart they speak.

8 On every side the wicked prowl,
as vileness is exalted among the children of man.

David’s black mood fits mine this morning. Godliness seems invisible at my workplace. Who is faithful? Don’t you know that fundamentalism stops a thinking mind? People utter lies for their own gain; people flatter to get themselves ahead.

When we feel this way, God wants us to look to Him. While it may seem that darkness encloses us on every side, He protects those who seek Him. In the midst of the onslaught of evil we can rely upon God’s pure, holy words.

6 The words of the LORD are pure words,
like silver refined in a furnace on the ground,
purified seven times.

And what does God say?

5“Because the poor are plundered, because the needy groan,
I will now arise,” says the LORD;
“I will place him in the safety for which he longs.”

The LORD is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; he knows those who take refuge in him.
Nahum 1:7 (ESV)

I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
John 10:11 (ESV)

Don’t let the darkness overwhelm you.

. . . no weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed,
and you shall confute every tongue that rises against you in judgment.
This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD
and their vindication from me, declares the LORD.”
Isaiah 54:17 (ESV)